This essay will focus on what changes EU’s Digital Single Market Strategy on copyright reform will bring to EU’s copyright system and its effects on European citizens, market players, and copyright holders. This essay will also discuss whether these changes uphold copyright holders’ interests but skew European citizens’ and market players’ (especially intermediaries’ in the sense of the new proposal1) interests.
Background of DSMS on Copyright Reform
As the society is moving from an industrial-based model to an information-based one, the new internet technologies show a big threat to the existing copyright system. The speed of reproduction, distributing and accessing based mainly on the internet is far more the same as that in a time mainly based on printing. Together with the development of platforms focusing on information sharing, copyright is easily infringed and lose its exclusive values. However, information spreading and sharing are fundamental objectives of an information era. Limiting them to protect copyright will cause disproportionate outcomes in a world that indicating copyright as public goods instead of human rights. Clashes between copyright holders and users (market players and European citizens) intensified. In 2014, Neelie Kroes, former Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society had stated that ‘Perhaps most importantly, the legal framework needs to take account of the needs of society. Users’ interests and expectations matter alongside creators’ rights.’2
Under this background, A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe3 occurred, and one of its aims is to modernise the existing copyright system. Until now, several legislative packages declared by the Commission for Digital Economy and Society. According to the commission, this reform will focus on three main aims:
(1) Providing citizens better choice and access to content online
(2) Improving copyright rules on research, education, and the inclusion of disabled people
(3) Creating a fairer and sustainable marketplace for creators and press4
This essay will discuss whether these three aims achieved, and their effects regarding the new environment they provided and the contradiction between the interests of copyright holders and that of users consisted of citizens and market players especially intermediaries.
Better choice and access to content online
1 Commission, ‘Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Copyright in the Digital Single Market’ (14 September 2016) COM(2016) 593 final
2 Neelie Kroes, ‘Our Single Market is Crying Out for Copyright Reform’ (Information Influx International Conference at Institute for Information Law, Amsterdam, July 2014) < http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-14-528_en.htm > accessed 26 December 2017; This point has also been made be Eleonora Rosati in ‘Are EU Policy-makers Fighting the Right Copyright Battles?’ (2015) 10:9 Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, 651
3 COM(2015) 192 final
4 ‘State of the Union 2016: Commission proposes modern EU copyright rules for European culture to flourish and circulate’ < http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-3010_en.htm > assessed 3 January 2018