User-generated Content / Remixing Exception

The legal ability to use parts of works in new works is fragmented across the EU. In some countries, it may be covered by a wide-reaching quotation exception, while others are more restrictive.

As a result, many common behaviors of modern internet culture, such as “reaction GIF” and “meme” images, fan fiction, “libdubs” (recording yourself acting as if performing a pop song), “supercuts” (making compilations of movie scenes sharing a particular characteristic) etc. may thus constitute copyright infringement in large parts of Europe.

The Culture Committee (MEP Joulaud’s draft report) proposes adding an EU-wide copyright exception to allow “digital use of quotations or extracts of works … within user- generated content for purposes such as criticism, review, entertainment, illustration, caricature, parody or pastiche”, provided the sources are cited and no commercial harm is caused. This long overdue, common-sense proposal has caused controversy in France, with French cultural industries petitioning MEP Joulaud’s party colleague, Presidential candidate François Fillon, in an angry letter.

The Internal Market Committee also seeks to add a user-generated content exception.

Freedom of panorama

Taking and freely sharing pictures of public space is not allowed in all EU member states: In some countries, this would infringe upon rights of architects and other creators of artworks located in public space (provided the buildings/works are still under copyright protection, i.e. the creator has not been dead for 70 years).

After the Commission disregarded a petition signed by 555,229 people to ensure Freedom of Panorama across the EU, MEPs are expected to submit amendments to the Commission proposal to introduce this harmonisation of the right to act freely in public space without worrying about copyright.

« What other changes to copyright are planned? Back to the overview

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