The European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market entered into force on 7 June 2019, with Member States having two years to transpose it (i.e. to implement it into national law). This directive aims to ensure better functioning of copyright rules across borders, allowing for a more integrated single market due to greater legal homogeneity across the bloc.

Now, in June 2020, we are therefore at the mid-point of the implementation process. Countries still have one year to meet their commitments.

The Directive contains several articles that concern libraries. These do, however, leave many choices to the interpretation and decision of national governments , and so an opportunity for stakeholders to influence implementation in order to ensure that this is most favourable.

We encourage European Union library associations and institutions therefore to continue engaging in this process, as their presence and input is essential to ensure new legal provisions suitable for libraries.

These articles cover several topics:

  • Text and Data Mining
  • Use of Works in Teaching Activities
  • Preservation of Cultural Heritage
  • Contract Override and Technological Protection Measures
  • Out-of Commerce Works
  • Works of Visual Art in the Public Domain
  • Press Publishers Right
  • Use of protected content by online content-sharing service providers.

You can find more information here, here and here


Global evolution of the implementation

Over the past year, we have seen countries move more or less quickly to implement the provisions. The process of discussion with stakeholders takes various forms: public consultations, meetings with stakeholders, questionnaires or a combination of these. Some countries like France have chosen to implement the Directive more or less behind closed doors.

The current health crisis has shifted the timeline of some of the consultations or changed the form they take. We can cite the case of Slovakia, for example, which postponed meetings originally planned for May 2020.

This is also the case for the stakeholder meetings concerning article 17 on the use of protected content by online service providers at the European level. These meetings were to produce recommendations for implementation for all countries. Marcel Kojala, a Green Member of the European Parliament from Czechia, has recently invited the European Commission to complete its recommendations so that countries can benefit from the guidelines during their implementation.


National implementations

Several countries have made draft legislative proposals available (Belgium, Croatia, Germany and Hungary), while others have already submitted their proposals to parliaments such as France (Articles 15 and 17) and the Netherlands.

Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Romania, and Sweden have already launched this process by releasing recommendations or holding stakeholder meetings.

Other countries have not yet entered the process, such as Portugal, Poland, Malta and Luxembourg.

This implementation will no doubt be followed by an update of the legislation in Iceland and Norway, countries in the European Economic Area.


Steps for Libraries

If you have already submitted recommendations to the ministry in charge or the intellectual property office of your country, we invite you to continue to follow the procedure on the subject.

If your library is in a country that has not yet started its consultation (Portugal, Poland, Malta, Luxembourg, Slovakia) or whose deadline for submitting recommendations on the best legal provisions is still upcoming such as Hungary or Bulgaria, we encourage libraries members to contact Camille Francoise.