EU Copyright Directive: 5 Key Learnings for the PR Industry

Christophe Dickès recently spoke at a PRII and Kantar event in Dublin to share his experiences from working on the EU Copyright Directive. Christophe, Kantar’s Global Copyright Director, had been heavily involved in shaping the Copyright Directive through his work with both AMEC and FIBEP.

The EU Copyright Directive, which seeks to update copyright laws for the digital age, is going to have a significant impact on the PR, communications and media industries. The impact of the legislation has the potential to be as significant as that of GDPR legislation introduced in 2018; albeit more specific to the PR, communications and media industries.

Here are the five key learnings that I took away from Christophe’s talk:

1. Neighbouring Right

A key outcome from the EU Directive was the creation of a “neighbouring right”, which gives a right to the publishers to the work they publish, rather than the authors of that work. This puts more power into the hands of publishers to get paid for the content that they publish online.

2. When?

The EU Copyright Directive was published on 17th June 2019, and gives national legislators two years to transpose the Directive into law, with a deadline of June 2021. There appears to be a lot of flexibility as to HOW each country interprets the directive, not least around the levels of remuneration that will need to be paid to the publishers, who will ultimately be responsible for making these payments, how will these payments be structured and how the legislation will be monitored.

3. The Tech Giants

Although the scope of the EU Directive covers media monitoring companies (such as Kantar), most of the focus of the EU Directive will be on the tech giants Google, Facebook, Twitter et al. Currently, those organisations are making lots of revenue from facilitating the sharing of publishers’ content, the EU Directive aims to ensure that these organisations are appropriately remunerating publishers based on their neighbouring rights.

4. Media Monitoring

The focus may be on the Tech Giants, but media monitoring organisations will have their part to play. In his role as Kantar’s Copyright Director, Christophe believes that media monitoring organisations and their clients should not have to pay anything extra in countries where copyright fees are already paid. This includes Ireland. There is an acknowledgement that fees will have to be paid in countries where there is no copyright law currently; including Italy, Poland and Portugal. It will be interesting to see how publishers react to the Directive in countries where copyright fees are already paid, given that asking for additional copyright fees might put an unsustainable strain on the media monitoring industry.

5. What next for Ireland?

Although work is underway to transpose the Directive into law in France, it is as yet unclear how this will be done in Ireland, and by whom. However, given the latitude afforded to each nation in transposing the Directive into law, it is clear is that key stakeholders (such as Kantar and PRII) need to start putting the work in now to ensure that the Directive is imposed fairly across the industry in Ireland, and in a timely manner. If you’re interested in adding your voice to these discussions, please get in touch here.



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