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DSM Copyright: European Commission political and legislative developments


Facilitating online cross border circulation of works through a modernisation of the EU copyright framework is one of President Juncker‘s priorities, as set out in its July 2014 political guidelines “We can ensure that consumers can access services, music, movies and sports events on their electronic devices wherever they are in Europe and regardless of borders.”

It is also part of the Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy adopted on 6 May 2020 that lists the main forthcoming initiatives in the area of IPR. They relate to:

  • portability of legally acquired content when traveling abroad;
  • cross-border access to legally purchased online services from another country “while respecting the value of rights in the audiovisual sector”;
  • harmonised exceptions to provide greater legal certainty for the cross-border use of content for specific purposes (e.g. research, education, text and data mining, etc.);
  • clarifying the rules on the activities of intermediaries in relation to copyright-protected content;
  • modernising enforcement of intellectual property rights, focusing on commercial scale infringements (the ‘follow the money’ approach) as well as its cross-border applicability.

This is not the first time that the Commission has tackled this issue that was at the centre of the Licence for Europe dialogue which was launched after the publication in 2012 of a Communication from the Commission on “content in the Digital Single Market”. The Licence for Europe exercise in particular ended up with 10 pledges to bring more content online, and in particular one regarding “Further development of cross-border portability of subscription services.”

On portability, a  meeting was organized by the European Commission/DG Connect on 23 October to discuss with stakeholders the main provisions of the portability legislative instrument .

First initatives

The European Commission adopted on 9 December 2020:

  • a proposal for a regulation on portability
  • a communciation “Towards a modern, more European copyright Framework”

Press release here