EU Draft Directive on Copyright

Posted on 9/15/2016 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

On 14 September 2016 the European Commission published its copyright package including a draft directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market for promoting a “fair and efficient European copyright-based economy”.

CEPIC represents hundreds of picture agencies and hundreds of thousands of photographers. CEPIC’s members have been digitizing visual content from the advent of the Internet. They license the resulting digital asset for all kinds of commercial uses, to newspapers, magazines, advertising, broadcasters, off and on-line, etc.

Images are widely shared online via search engines, social media and other aggregators and have highly contributed to make the Internet the vibrant and engaging place we enjoy today.

However, over the last 10-15 years, inadequate protection of images in the digital space has shifted the value from those who create images to those that provide the platforms for viewing and sharing images.  We have seen, over the last decade how heavy weight social platforms  which have built their success upon the posting and sharing of unlicensed images hide behind safe harbour provisions to avoid fairly compensating rights holders  for the use of their content and shift the liability onto the individual user. These platforms have contributed to fuel the internet with unlicensed content and deprive copyright holders of a stream of revenue.

In order to remedy the imbalance in the value chain and bridge the “Value Gap”, CEPIC made policy recommendations on Framing, Host Provider Privilege and Implied Consent. To view some of these recommendations on the CEPIC website go to: White Paper and Not All Links Are Equal.

Against this background, we are pleased that the issue of the “Value Gap” has been understood and included in the draft directive. We welcome the provisions in the directive to encourage effective licensing agreements between platforms and right holders and the implementation of effective content ID technologies.

More licensing agreements will allow right holders along the value chain to share in the value their images bring to the digital marketplace. The resulting economic growth will spur creation of more diverse and quality content to be available in the internet. Creativity is the best ferment of cultural diversity and freedom of expression.

However, because the liability regime of platforms is left intact and no provision seems to address framing of content which are of main concern for the visual industry, we consider that the draft directive does not protect our sector sufficiently.

With regard to the framing issue, Alfonso Gutierrez, President of CEPIC, says: “The real problem is how we pay authors enough to continue producing content worth to look at. Images are not only stored, they are increasingly being framed to be copied. If we continue allowing images to be framed freely we are depriving authors (and right holders) of income that is needed to continue producing great images.“

In general, we see the proposal as a first step in the right direction. But more work is needed to ensure that Image Providers are fairly compensated and protected online.

Copyright © 2016 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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