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Directive 2019/790/EU on Copyright and Related Rights in the Digital Single Market and Amending Directives 96/9/EC and 2001/29/EC

May 30, 2022

The European Parliament passed the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive on April 17, 2019. One of its most controversial provisions is Article 17 (formerly Article 13), which requires online content-sharing service providers to obtain authorization (e.g., a license) from rightsholders to all of their content, even if it is uploaded by their users. Without such authorization, providers are liable unless they demonstrate their “best efforts" to a) obtain such an authorization; b) ensure “the unavailability of specific works” as identified by rightsholders; and c) prevent future uploads, after acting “expeditiously” on notice from rightsholders to disable or remove the identified works. Of note, only a subset of these obligations are imposed on providers less than 3 years old with a turnover under $10 million euros, subject to additional restrictions if those providers have over 5 million monthly unique visitors

The directive required each of the 27 EU member states to transpose the directive into national law by June 7, 2021. However, only the Netherlands, Hungary and Germany had fully transposed the law to meet the deadline. After Malta transposed its law a few weeks past the deadline, the European Commission issued infringement proceedings against the rest of the member states on July 27, 2021. Shortly thereafter, Austria, Croatia, Estonia, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Luxembourg joined. In total, as of April 2022, only 12 states have incorporated the directive into their bodies of law.

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