Final approval granted: The EU’s Copyright Directive to become law


The new Copyright Directive was approved by the Council of the EU on 15 April 2019. This was the final substantive step for the Directive, following its two plus year journey through the European legislative process.

The final steps for the Copyright Directive will be its signature by the President of each of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, before being published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Member States will then have two years to implement the Directive through their national laws.

Interestingly, the official results published on the Council’s website shows 20 votes in favour rather than the 19 which were featured on earlier blogs posted by Marietje Schaake (a Dutch politician who is a Member of the European Parliament), with the difference being a positive vote by Estonia rather than an abstention.

If the UK leaves the EU before these two years have passed  (and depending on what deal, if any, is arrived at), it may not be required to implement the Copyright Directive. The UK today voted in support of the Copyright Directive, choosing not to align itself with a number of Member States who issued a Joint Statement in advance of the vote stating that they would vote against the Directive (see here). It will remain to be seen if the UK maintains its support of the Directive and creates identical or similar laws even if it is no longer required to do so post-Brexit.

For more on our analysis of the Directive, please see:

  • A brief overview of Articles 17 and 15 (formerly 13 and 11) regarding online platform liability and the press publishers right respectively: see here
  • Are you an OCSSP for the purposes of Article 17 (formerly 11) regarding the obligations on online platforms? See here
  • An overview of the Copyright Directive for US (and non-EU) lawyers, see here (note: this article was based on the previous text of the Directive, approved by the European Parliament in September 2018)

Further articles on the Copyright Directive will be published in due course.

For advice on how the Copyright Directive may, or may not, affect you and/or your business, please get in touch with our Brands, Designs & Copyright team.

Related Articles