BREAKING: EU Commission publishes paper on consequences of Brexit on copyright

The IPKat has just been alerted that the EU Commission has published today a document detailing the consequences of Brexit on UK copyright.

"Subject to any transitional arrangement that may be contained in a possible withdrawal agreement [a few days ago it appeared that there might be a 21-month period after Brexit day in which the UK will remain subject to EU rules and the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union], as of the withdrawal date [30 March 2019], the EU rules in the field of copyright will no longer apply to the United Kingdom."

This, in substance, is the message of the document. 

More specifically, one can learn from the document that - as of the withdrawal date -relevant EU directives and regulations will cease applying to the UK, and the relationships between the EU and the UK (as a third country) will be governed by relevant international treaties to which both are parties, including the WIPO Internet Treaties and TRIPS. 

With regard to EU directives, the document notes that:
  • UK-based broadcasters will no longer benefit from the country of origin principle as enshrined in the SatCab Directive;
  • EU collective management organisations (CMOs) will no longer be subject to the obligation to represent UK-based CMOs for multiterritorial licensing in accordance with the CRM Directive;
  • With regard to orphan works, the mechanism of mutual recognition of the 'orphan work' status provided for by the Orphan Works Directive will no longer apply between the UK and the EU;
  • UK-based blind/visually impaired/print-disabled persons will no longer be able to obtain accessible format copies from authorised entities in the EU under the framework provided for by the recent Directive 2017/1564;
  • UK residents will no longer enjoy from the Online Content Portability Regulation [which enters into force on Sunday] to 'port' their digital content subscriptions when travelling to the EU;
  • UK nationals (unless they have their habitual residence in the EU) and companies/firms formed in accordance with UK law will no longer be entitled to maintain or obtain a sui generis database right in respect of databases in the EU.
BREAKING: EU Commission publishes paper on consequences of Brexit on copyright BREAKING: EU Commission publishes paper on consequences of Brexit on copyright Reviewed by Eleonora Rosati on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 Rating: 5


  1. Why are we persisting with this Brexit nonsense? It makes no sense at all.

  2. The document relates to a worst-case scenario, and one that is highly unlikely to come to pass. Most of the negative consequences for UK citizens and entities in the UK can and will be resolved under the Repeal Bill and consequence domestic legilation. The EU institutions can do likewise. Future governments will be able to implement a more or less restrictive IP rights environment as they see fit. The exceptions will be in relation to supply of material, in which a copyright subsists, from the UK to the rEU, that is, for consumption in the rEU. This will mostly be broadcast, streaming or download services. Here, it is most likely that UK rights will be negotiated as a package together with rEU rights, making the point about clearing rights in two jurisdictions moot, although I can see justification for greater granularity for certain content, especially sports.

    What the paper also leaves out is that the UK will also be able to negotiate rights unions more flexibly outside the UK where there is a domestic requirement to do so, and will be able to implement exceptions or new sui generis rights where doing so would be useful. This might be of great benefit to the creative and content industries, if the UK chooses to follow such a path.

  3. Mr Broptimist, the UK already can and does implement new exceptions outwith the EU regulatory framework -see its Text and Data Mining Exception. Brexit doesn't change this situation, so why imply that it does?

  4. Mr Oppenhemer: The government can only implement exceptions, as you say, outwith the EU framework. Let's say that the UK government wanted to implement a strong pro-user right, such a a wide-ranging fair use exception well beyond that permitted under EU law, or a strong pro-creator right, such as a paring back of fair use provisions expressly permitted under EU law. Both are now possible, whereas before they were partially not, in cases where the EU legislature had competence and/or the ECJ had ruled.


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