The scope of the EU Digital Copyright Directive approved this week by European Parliament is broad. With most media attention having been devoted to the controversial “link tax” (Article 11) and “meme ban” (Article 13), other measures in the Directive which strengthen the position of authors and performers should not be forgotten. This post looks ‘behind the headlines’ to explain these other measures.

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On 26 March 2019, the European Parliament approved the EU Copyright Directive.

What happens next?

Member states will have two years to implement the directive at a national level once adopted.

The news will not please the large online content aggregators which have been extensively lobbying against the implementation of the Copyright Directive. The controversial Article 13 (the so-called “Meme Ban”) has been one of the main reasons for the aggregators’ objections because it is argued that Article 13 encourages censorship and impedes internet freedom.

For an overview of the also controversial so called ‘Link Tax’ (Article 11) see our prior blog post.


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On 26 March 2019, the European Parliament approved the EU Copyright Directive.

Article 11 of the revised EU Copyright directive prohibits online content providers from linking to news outlets/publications without the prior authority of the publisher – the so called “Link Tax”. This means that for an online content provider to be able to link to a news article on their site, it will need a licence from the publisher. It may also need to pay for the right to use the article (unless the publisher waives this right).

What is the aim behind Article 11?

Article 11 improves the bargaining position for publishers. Currently, online content providers are permitted to freely link to news articles on their websites without the publisher’s prior consent and without providing remuneration to the publisher for use of its publication. Article 11 seeks to level the playing field between publishers and online content providers. Publishers will become entitled to negotiate fair licensing agreements and remuneration for use of their works online.


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on 26 March 2019 the European Parliament approved the draft EU Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive. The copyright reforms have sparked large scale controversy amongst the tech giant community, condemning the reforms as impractical and burdensome. Whereas many (not all) authors and members of the performing artist industry have welcomed such proposals, favouring fairer protection and remuneration for their works.

What is the purpose of the Directive?

Digital technology has changed the way content is reproduced and accessed. Content is now largely accessed via online platforms such as Google, YouTube or Facebook. The aim of the Copyright Directive is to modernise the current copyright rules in line with an ever growing digital world where content is predominately accessed online.


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In today’s judgment, the UK Supreme Court held that rights-holders should bear the costs of implementing website blocking injunctions to prevent IP infringement. The judgment overturns the practice adopted by the English courts since 2011 of requiring internet service providers, as innocent intermediaries, to bear these costs.

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