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EU Council gives the green light to the Copyright Directive

Member states approved the final text, despite some countries in disagreement.

Background: The directive on copyright in the digital single market, proposed by the European Commission in September 2016, has been one of the most controversial pieces of legislation of the EC’s Digital Single Market initiatives. Contrasting views on issues such as the remuneration for press publishers by online platforms, and on requirements to take down unauthorised content and prevent future uploads, have resulted in lengthy negotiations for more than two years. So much so, that the plenary of the EU Parliament rejected the first agreed text in July 2018.

End of the saga: Following new trilogue negotiations, the EU Parliament approved the text on 26 March 2019. Today, it was the Council’s turn to give the final seal of approval; once again, the vote showed that some division remains between member states on key aspects of the directive. Six states (Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden) voted against the final text, and another three abstained (Belgium, Estonia, Slovenia).

Next steps: With the vote, the Directive is now fully approved; member states have two years to transpose it into national legislation. The division shown during negotiations suggests we are likely to see a very fragmented approach when it comes to implementing the Directive.