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Slaughter and May

| 2 minutes read

EU Copyright regulation after the Brexit transition period

As the UK enters the final six months of its countdown until the end of the transition period on 1 January 2021, the European Commission (EC) has published a stakeholder notice on certain implications for copyright and related rights.

In particular, this EC notice highlights changes we can expect at the end of the transition period in respect of the following areas:

  1. Satellite broadcasting services: the Satellite and Cable Directive (93/83/EEC), aims to improve the cross-border provision and reception of satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission services.  UK broadcasters will no longer benefit from this directive when providing cross-border satellite broadcasting services to EU customers, and similarly for EU broadcasters to UK customers. Instead, UK broadcasters will need to clear rights individually in each member state where the signal reaches.
  2. Collecting societies: UK Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) will no longer be obliged to represent EU-based CMOs for multi-territorial licensing under the Collective Rights Management Directive (2014/26/EU). Similarly, EU CMOs will also no longer be obliged to represent UK-based CMOs for multi-territorial licensing.
  3. Orphan works: the mutual recognition of orphan works (i.e. works for which the copyright holder is unknown) will no longer apply between the UK and the EU, as currently provided for by the Orphan Works Directive (2012/28/EU).
  4. Works for the blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled: UK beneficiary persons and authorised entities in the UK will no longer be able to get accessible format copies from authorised entities in the EU, and vice versa for EU beneficiary persons and entities, as was previously provided under the Marrakesh Directive ((EU) 2017/1564).
  5. Digital content subscriptions: UK residents will no longer benefit from their digital content subscriptions when travelling to the EU under the Portability Regulation ((EU) 2017/1128), and any UK online content services provider will need to comply with the rules of the relevant member states where it wishes to offer services to its subscribers, including the need to clear all relevant rights.
  6. Databases: UK nationals (without a habitual residence in the EU) and UK-registered businesses will no longer be entitled to get a sui generis database right for EU databases under the Database Directive (96/9/EC), and vice versa: EU nationals and businesses will not be entitled under EU law to get a sui generis right for UK databases.

While it is unsurprising that certain mutual rights and obligations contained in these and other directives will come to an end after the transition period, such notices provide valuable clarification on the post-Brexit landscape for all stakeholders - from individual copyright holders to multi-national media-providers.

Thank you very much to Anna Bashall for her research in the preparation of this post.