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Copyright Law in Europe: Exceptions and limitations to copyright

The European Audiovisual Observatory, part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, published a new report on the state of play of copyright law in Europe. This latest IRIS Plus report ‘Exceptions and limitations to copyright’, guides us through the complex process of the new Copyright Package, presented in September 2016 by the European Commission.

In the first chapter, they set the scene, presenting the background on origins of copyright and discussing the economic impact of certain exceptions and limitations to copyright in the European Union, like (1.3.1) the access to film heritage works in the digital era. In the chapter about the national legal framework, they give an overview of the national implementations of certain exceptions to copyright, among which (3.2.3) the exception for cultural heritage institutions. Chapter 4 ‘The role of self and co-regulation’ tells about the licenses for Europe, facilitating the digitisation and access to audiovisual heritage (4.4.1.) and about “open” copyright licenses initiatives (4.5). The last chapter refers to the state of play regarding the copyright exceptions in the bigger picture of the Digital Single Market strategy, policy documents concerning exceptions and limitations, the pending issues and the Copyright Package, including the four new mandatory exceptions:

  1. For text and data mining in the field of scientific research (6.3.2).
  2. For digital and cross-border uses in the field of education: to allow teachers and students to take full advantage of digital technologies at all levels of education (6.3.3.).
  3. For the preservation of cultural heritage: to support cultural heritage institutions (public accessible libraries or museums, archives or film or audio heritage institutions) in their efforts to preserve the cultural heritage (6.3.4).
  4. For the accessible formats for people with disabilities (6.3.5).

The report tells us the Copyright package is in an early stage of the legislation process. “With regard to exceptions, the proposed Copyright Directive and the Marrakesh exception are being analysed by the competent Committees of the European Parliament and by the Council. No estimated date of final adoption has been announced yet.”

Read the report Exceptions and limitations to copyright.