The New EU Copyright Directive — A Bad Deal for Creators and Consumers?

The EU Copyright Directive introduced new measures aimed at updating copyright law for the digital age. The challenge is that the law pays little more than lip service to the creators and copyright owners. We have to recognize that it is the consumer who ultimately decides what he or she is willing to pay for, not publishers. This is going to require a new way of thinking — one that puts creators in the driving seat while also respecting what consumers want. I believe it is crucial to employ an open source, self-service method of registering, tracking and monetizing specific content, with direct distribution of revenues and proceeds amongst parties.

Key Points

  • There is a down-side to how the directive is being presented – the focus is almost entirely on publishers and platforms and it all but ignores both the people who create the content in the first place and the people who buy that content.
  • Creativity and creation are of the most value when it comes to content development, so it should be a priority to ensure that creators are given a share of the revenue.
  • When it comes to what a consumer is ready to pay for, it’s not up to the publishers, the distribution platforms or a regulatory or government body to decide.
  • This has the effect of presenting the directive as an agreement made solely with publishers, not with the copyright holders, and it could prove catastrophic if publishers then do not hold up their end of the bargain.
  • One can imagine a scenario where authors, artists and music producers refuse to grant platforms licenses, meaning that tech firms are required to remove or block uploads. 
  • And if platforms don’t negotiate licenses with publishers, or if publishers don’t waive their rights, platforms won’t be able to display longer fragments of articles under headlines.
  • To enforce the law and to help creators, publishers and platforms alike, we need to give platforms a model that eliminates the need to contact publishers in order to secure licenses on an individual basis – allowing publishers and creators to sign up and automatically grant licensing rights.
  • How it could work in practice: an author creates their content and registers it, a part of which process will include setting parameters for how they want the revenue to be split. Those proceeds can come either from an ad (where each party gets a share), paid content, or voluntary contributions. 
  • Authors and bloggers who self-publish could also state the price or terms for their content, with the long tail of the Internet audience deciding whether the content is worth the asking price.

Check out my full article here.

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