Implementation of the updated European Copyright Directive


The recent European Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive ((EU) 2019/790) came into force on 6 June 2019. The main aim of this directive is to update European copyright law to the digital age. Among other provisions, the directive specifically introduces new frameworks to enable a fair marketplace for the press, publishers, artists, journalists and producers.

As is usual for Directives, each member state of the European Union must implement the Directive into its national laws. The deadline for this directive is 7 June 2021 and, in many cases, this implementation is in full swing. Currently, only Czechia, France, and Hungary have at the date of writing notified the European Commission of the changes in their national laws implementing the directive.

In Germany, The Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection has prepared a draft implementation law and invited comments by 31 July 2020 and the German government thinks that this will be achieved, as they stated in response to a question from the FDP group in the Bundestag.

Will the UK implement the new directive?

According to Chris Skidmore, the former Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Chris Skidmore, in response to a written parliamentary question, the UK has no plans to implement the Directive into its national laws. The current transition period after the UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020 expires on 31 December 2020 and there is no obligation for the UK to adopt the laws. Indeed the current prime minister, Boris Johnson, had previously tweeted his opposition.

We’ve been advising clients on what the updated copyright legislation means to their businesses in the UK and Europe – feel free to get in touch if you need further information.

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