The UK won’t be implementing the EU Copyright Directive after Brexit

Tips & Techniques

About a year ago now, the final language of the EU Copyright Directive was released. Its goal was for the “harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society”. But a couple of articles contained within the directive aren’t great, have been quite controversial and could have wide-reaching effects for photographers and filmmakers beyond the obvious.

Basically, the burden for online copyright theft with the new directive basically falls upon the company hosting the content, and not the user that put it there. This shifting of burden means that entire services may disappear overnight, or you suddenly find you can’t upload content to certain platforms because they’ve just blocked your country.

The consequences for the new law include things like not being able to post video and photo content you created, purely because a platform doesn’t want responsibility for uploads from your country. Google News already pulled out of Spain because legislation wanted to charge them money to show news snippets. Google News also threatened to pull out of the EU completely, and it might even extend to YouTube (at least as far as uploading goes).

On the flip side, it also potentially means easier recovery of compensation over copyright infringements for photographers, filmmakers and others who find their work stolen and used online. If you can go after the hosting service rather than trying to trace the individual who uploaded the content, then it’s easier to know where to send the bill.

For those in the UK, though, this might not become an issue. It seems that as the Directive doesn’t have to be implemented before Friday 31st January (the new “Brexit Day”) or the transition period ending on December 31st, the UK government doesn’t plan to implement it at all. The deadline for implementing the EU Copyright Directive is 7th June 2021. As the UK will no longer be a part of the EU on that date (assuming the government sticks to its word of no more extensions), there is no requirement to implement it.

We support the overall aims of the Copyright Directive. But our imminent departure from the EU means we are not required to implement the Copyright Directive in full.

It’s absolutely imperative we do everything possible to protect our brilliant creators, as well as the consumers and the rights of users who consume music. I look forward to working with the music industry to ensure we achieve this.

Nigel Adams, Culture Minister (via PRS for Music)

Hopefully, that enthusiasm will apply to photographers, filmmakers, designers, artists, and other creative copyright owners, too. Whether this will be a good thing for the UK or not remains to be seen. But as to exactly what will happen to the copyright laws in the UK after Brexit, if anything at all, is anybody’s guess.

If you fancy reading the entire directive for yourself, you can do so here.

[via The Verge]

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