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Copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market

Copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market



Directive (EU) 2019/790 on copyright in the Digital Single Market


The directive has 3 main objectives:

  • to adapt certain key exceptions to copyright to the digital and the cross-border environment;
  • to improve licensing practices and ensure wider access to content; and
  • to achieve a well-functioning marketplace for copyright.


The directive updates but does not replace the 11 directives which together comprise the EU's copyright legislation. These include:

Copyright exceptions to give wider access

The directive makes it easier to use copyright-protected material for different purposes, mostly related to access to knowledge, by introducing mandatory exceptions to copyright to foster:

  • text- and data-mining*;
  • digital uses of works for the purpose of illustration for teaching; and
  • the preservation of cultural heritage.

It facilitates licensing to give wider access to content, in particular by providing:

  • a new system to make it easier for cultural heritage institutions, such as libraries, museums and archives, to digitise and disseminate, including online and across borders in the EU, out-of-commerce works that they have in their collections;
  • a specific rule on extended collective licensing and similar mechanisms;
  • a negotiation mechanism to help interested parties reach agreements for the making available of audiovisual works on video-on-demand platforms.

The directive also clarifies that anyone can use and share without restriction copies of works of art in the public domain (for example, a picture of a sculpture no longer covered by copyright), under certain conditions.

Protection of press publications for online use

  • There are new rights granted to EU-based press publishers for the digital use of their press publications, although these rights only apply to uses by online service providers and not to private or non-commercial uses by individual users. Acts of hyperlinking and very short extracts from press publications are not subject to these new rights.
  • Authors of works included in a press publication should receive an appropriate share of the income derived from its use.

Use of protected content by online content-sharing platforms

  • Online content-sharing service providers should obtain permission from rights holders to make works uploaded by their users available to the public, for example through a licensing agreement. If a licence is not concluded, the concerned platforms benefit from a liability-mitigation mechanism, but they have to make ‘best efforts’ to make sure that unauthorised content is not available on their websites. They must make those efforts on the basis of relevant and necessary information provided by the rightholders.
  • Users are allowed to post content for the specific purposes of quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody or pastiche and may use complaint and redress mechanisms in case of disputes over content erroneously blocked or removed from the platforms.

Fair remuneration for authors and performers

EU countries should ensure that a principle of appropriate and proportionate remuneration applies when an author or performer has transferred or licensed his rights for exploitation by another party (e.g. a publisher or a producer).

Transparency and revocation

Authors and performers should receive regularly - at least once a year - up-to-date, relevant and comprehensive information on the exploitation of their works and performances. They have a right of revocation, after a reasonable period of time, in the event of non-use of the work or performance.

Modifying contracts

The negotiating rights of authors and performers are strengthened. They have the right to claim from the party with whom they have a contract for the exploitation of rights, appropriate and fair additional remuneration in cases where the remuneration initially agreed is unreasonably low in relation to all subsequent income resulting from exploitation of the works.


It has applied since 6 June 2019 and must become law in all EU countries by 7 June 2021.


For more information, see:


Text- and data-mining: any automated analytical technique aiming to analyse text and data in digital form in order to generate information such as patterns, trends and correlations.


Directive (EU) 2019/790 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market and amending Directives 96/9/EC and 2001/29/EC (OJ L 130, 17.5.2019, pp. 92-125)


Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (OJ L 167, 22.6.2001, pp. 10-19)

Successive amendments to Directive 2001/29/EC have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 12.07.2019