The European Commission decides to refer 11 Member States to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to fully transpose EU copyright rules into national law
Today, the European Commission decided to refer 11 Member States to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to notify the Commission of transposition measures under two Directives with respect to copyright.
The Commission decided to refer Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Latvia, Poland and Portugal to the Court of Justice of the EU following their failure to notify complete transposition measures on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market (Directive (EU) 2019/790).
Secondly, with regard to a more specific EU Directive on copyright and related rights applicable to certain online transmissions (EU Directive 2019/789), the Commission is referring Bulgaria, Finland, Latvia, Poland and Portugal to the Court of Justice for not notifying complete transposition of EU rules to the Commission.
These two Directives aim to modernise copyright rules for consumers and creators to make the most of the digital world. They protect rightholders from different sectors, stimulating the creation and circulation of more high-value content. They bring greater choice of content for users by lowering transaction costs and facilitating the distribution of radio and television programmes across the EU.
New Copyright Directive
In September 2016, the Commission proposed an update of the EU rules on copyright to fit the new way creative content is produced, distributed and accessed online. A growing number of Internet users access music or audiovisual content online and creators now primarily earn a living out of digital revenue stream.
The new rules concern the relationships between copyright holders and online platforms and the remuneration of individual artists and creators. The new Copyright rules ensure fairer remuneration for creators and rightholders, press publishers and journalists, in particular when their works are used online. These rules introduce more legal certainty and create more remuneration opportunities in the relationships with online platforms, rebalancing bargaining power.
The new rules also include new guarantees to fully protect the freedom of expression of users online, to allow them to legitimately share their content. Finally, the new rules create further opportunities, in particular through new copyright exceptions and simplified licensing mechanisms for using copyright-protected material online and across borders for education, research and preservation of cultural heritage purposes.
New Directive on television and radio programmes
The Commission also made a proposal in September 2016 to update EU rules facilitating the clearance of rights (i.e. obtaining right holders’ authorisations) for the online transmissions and retransmissions of radio and TV programmes, to the ultimate benefit of European consumers.
The Directive on television and radio programmes as finally adopted in 2019 makes it easier for broadcasters to make certain television programmes as well as their radio programmes on their online services available across borders. It also contains rules, which allows retransmission operators to obtain more easily licences for the television and radio channels they retransmit, thus allowing them to reach a broader audience in the EU.
After the transposition deadline expired on 7 June 2021, the Commission initially opened the infringement procedure on 23 July 2021 by sending letters of formal notice to the Member States that did not communicate complete transposition of the two Directives. On 19 May 2022, the Commission followed up with reasoned opinions to 10 Member States over failure to notify the transposition of Directive 2019/789 and 13 Member States regarding Directive (EU) 2019/790.
Under Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), if the Member State concerned does not comply with the reasoned opinion within the period laid down by the Commission, the latter may bring the matter before the Court of Justice of the European Union. Additionally, under Article 260(3) TFEU, the Commission can call on the Court of Justice of the EU to impose financial sanctions on the Member States that failed to fulfil their obligation to notify measures transposing a legislative directive.