Digital Single Market Update
Since our last Bulletin, the Commission has announced its Work Programme 2016, and in the Communication published on 27 October 2015, the Commission confirmed that in reference to the Digital Single Market ("DSM"), "in December [they] will present [their] vision for a more modern, more European approach on copyright to take account of the digital revolution" (page 6). A legislative proposal on the portability of digital content across borders is therefore expected to be released at the end of December 2015. Various other legislative proposals, including those relating to digital contract rights, the free flow of data, geo-blocking and VAT for electronic commerce will follow in 2016.
The Commission has published Roadmaps, dated October 2015, on the new initiatives it has announced. The Road maps aim to explain the problems that should be addressed and sets out possible policy options. The Communication on copyright will be released before the end of the year and outlines areas where legislative proposals will be considered. The roadmap also confirms that further legislative measures will be adopted in spring 2016.
An early draft of the proposals has been leaked and appears to confirm the position. The two concrete proposals revealed by the leak are a commitment to ensure “portability” of online content services by spring 2016 and a harmonised exception to copyright infringement to benefit people with print disabilities implementing the WIPO Marrakech Treaty. Wider copyright reforms will wait until at least next year; this is despite a previous promise by digital commissioner Andrus Ansip that “one of our top priorities in 2015 is to modernise EU copyright rules.”
Recently, copyright reform was again on the agenda at a meeting with Ansip and European filmmakers on 13 November 2015. In response to the leaked paper, Cécile Despringre stated that territoriality is back on the agenda, "rightholders will be keener than ever to hear Commission guarantees that portability will not be used to circumvent territoriality". Of course, the leak is in no way the final position and caution should be taken when analysing it. We should await the final Communication which is to be released before the end of the year.
There is currently one ongoing public consultation relating to the DSM: Tackling Unjustified Geo-Blocking (ending 28/12/15). You are able to respond to the consultation by visiting:
For more discussion of the leaked paper and proposed timelines, view our SniPpets Intellectual Property Blog:
For a detailed report on how the DSM strategy might affect your business, please download our paper.