Draft agreement reached last week will require greater transparency from tech giants, publishers
The Society of Authors (SoA) has welcomed the agreement on the EU Copyright Directive reached last week between the European Parliament, Council and Commission. The directive aims to recognise the copyrights of people whose work is used online, particularly by the tech giants.
Under Article 11 of the directive, companies such as Google will have to negotiate licensing agreements with rights holders before publishing links to their content. Article 13 will require internet platforms such as YouTube to acquire licences for the content they host and ensure that there is no copyright infringement on their sites. Under Article 14, creators will be entitled to transparent information on how their works are being exploited by their publishers - a move that should make it easier for authors, scriptwriters, translators and illustrators to negotiate future contracts and to receive a fairer share of the generated revenues. Article 15 introduces a contract adjustment mechanism (or "bestseller clause") allowing creators to claim additional remuneration when sales are much better than expected. The SoA commented that it had been pressing for these provisions as part of its CREATOR campaign for fairer contracts.
SoA chief executive Nicola Solomon said: "This is excellent news for all creators and rights-holders. The Copyright Directive is a vital piece of legislation which affirms the rights of creators whose work is used online.
"Of critical importance to our members are the provisions contained in Articles 14 to 16. These will require publishers to provide transparent information to writers in all forms and genres, translators and illustrators on how their works are being exploited. The 'bestseller clause' will ensure that our members receive the remuneration they deserve when their work does better than expected. And if it isn't being exploited, creators can get their rights back.
"We aren't celebrating just yet, as the directive still needs to be confirmed by member states and voted on by MEPs. But this breakthrough following weeks of deadlock comes as a huge relief, and we are optimistic that the directive will soon be passed into EU law - and then into UK law within the following two years."