The European Commission presented a legislative package for the modernisation of the EU copyright rules, including a new directive on copyright in the digital single market on 14 September 2016. Stakeholders and academics have been strongly divided on the proposal. In February 2019, after more than two years of protracted negotiations, the co-legislators agreed on a new set of copyright rules including two controversial provisions: 1) the creation of a new right that will allow press publishers to claim remuneration for the online use of their publications (Article 11), and 2), the imposition of content monitoring measures on online platforms such as YouTube, which seeks to resolve the ‘value gap’ and help rights-holders to better monetise and control the distribution of their content online (Article 13). Furthermore, in addition to the mandatory exception for text and data mining for research purposes proposed by the Commission in its proposal, the co-legislators agreed to enshrine in EU law another mandatory exception for general text and data mining (Article 3a) in order to contribute to the development of data analytics and artificial intelligence. On 20 February 2019, Coreper endorsed the compromise text on behalf of the Member States.
In the framework of the next long-term EU budget for 2021-2027, the Commission is proposing a new, €9.2 billion programme to build up digital capacity and infrastructure and support a digital single market. It will operate mainly through coordinated and strategic co-investments with the Member States in the areas of advanced computing and data, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity, their uptake and optimal use in the private and public sectors and boosting advanced digital skills. The programme aims to help European societies and businesses to make the most of the ongoing digital transformation.
The Commission is a legislative measure to introduce measures to prevent the misuse of hosting services for the dissemination of terrorist content online. This initial appraisal of the Commission’s impact assessment on the proposal finds that the impact assessment clearly determines the problems with the status quo, but is short on detail in outlining the options to tackle these problems. The Impact assessment is particularly sensitive to concerns of encroachment on fundamental rights and freedoms and makes a distinctive effort to highlight the proportionality of the measures proposed and the safeguards to fundamental rights and freedoms integrated within.
The fourth evaluation on the EU Code of Conduct shows that this Commission initiative delivers successful results.
IT companies are now assessing 89% of flagged content within 24 hours and 72% of the content deemed to be illegal hate speech is removed, compared to 40% and 28% respectively when the Code was first launched in 2016. However, companies need to improve their feedback to users.