The new regulations strengthen the copyright holder’s position in negotiations
The aim of the Directive is to strengthen the position of authors and performers in agreement negotiations with the user of the work that is obtaining the copyright. With the reform, authors and performers have the right to receive a remuneration that is appropriate and proportionate to the actual or potential economic value of the licensed or transferred rights.
In order for the authors or performers to assess the financial value of their work or performance, they have the right to receive accurate and up-to-date information on the revenue derived from the exploitation of the works or performances. The information must be provided in a manner that is comprehensible to the author or performer.
This is called the transparency obligation. In implementing the transparency obligation, the specificities of different sectors, such as those of the audiovisual sector and the publishing sector, should be taken into account.
The contract adjustment mechanism gives the copyright holder the right to additional remuneration
The contract adjustment mechanism in accordance with the Directive on Copyright protects authors and performers in a situation in which the economic value of the rights turns out to be significantly higher than initially estimated.
In the future, authors and performers are entitled to claim appropriate additional remuneration from their contracting party if the remuneration originally agreed turns out to be disproportionately low compared to all the subsequent revenues derived from the exploitation of the works or performances.
Disputes concerning the transparency obligation and the contract adjustment mechanism can be submitted to an alternative dispute resolution procedure instead of a court of law.
The copyright holder receives the right to revoke the transfer of rights that have not been exploited
When authors and performers license or transfer their rights, they are entitled to expect that their work or performance is actually used.
The Directive requires that after a reasonable period of time, the author or performer has the right to revoke the transfer of their rights if the works or performances are not exploited at all. In that case, the author or performer can transfer or license the rights they have revoked to another party.
The Directive makes it possible to take the specificities of the different sectors and the different types of works and performances into account with regard to the time frames for the right of revocation, for instance.
Newspaper and magazine publishers’ related rights
The Directive on Copyright gives newspaper and magazine publishers new related rights in connection with the online use of press publications, such as news aggregators. The term of the new related rights is two years, and it applies to commercial activities in which journalistic news are included in an online newspaper and magazine aggregator.
In the future, the online use of newspaper and magazine publications in news services requires the online service provider to obtain the permission of the publisher for the online use of the contents of the news service and pay a remuneration to the publisher. According to the Directive, the authors must receive an appropriate share of the revenues that publishers receive for the use of their content by service providers.
However, hyperlinking and publishing individual words or very short extracts is still allowed without obtaining the publisher’s permission. The related rights of a newspaper and magazine publisher does not apply to private and non-commercial use, either.
Schedule of amendments to the law
The Directive on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market was approved in April 2019. The aim of the Directive, which garnered much attention, is to renew the legislation so that it corresponds to the way that works are used today, harmonise copyright in the EU and improve the position of copyright holders in the digital online environment.
The Directive requires changes in the Finnish Copyright Act, but it is still unclear how the details of the changes will be recorded and implemented. The schedule for drafting the amendments to the act in Finland has been delayed, but the draft law is still expected to be published during the spring.
Text: Sini Kauppila