Hi all,

Yesterday was the last "trilogue" meeting for the year in Strasbourg. As expected, and despite the claims by EP negotiator Axel Voss and the Austrian Presidency, the Council and the Parliament weren't able to strike a deal on Articles 11 & 13 and the next round of negotiations will be in the second half of January.

We can still end the year on a positive note. The Council and the Parliament reached an agreement on the "public domain safeguard". They have both accepted the Commission proposal (which makes sure that digitisations of public domain works will receive no new copyright or related rights in the EU). With this, the chapter on exceptions and limitations is closed. The text agreed upon reads:

Article 5(1a) - Public domain
Member States shall provide that, when the term of protection of a work of visual art has expired, any material resulting from an act of reproduction of that work shall not be subject to copyright or related rights, unless the material resulting from that act of reproduction is original in the sense that it is the author's own intellectual creation.

The expiry of the term of protection of a work entails the entry of that work in the public domain and the expiry of the rights that Union copyright law provides to that work. In the field of visual arts, the circulation of faithful reproductions of works in the public domain contributes to the access to and and promotion of culture (or access to cultural heritage). In the digital environment the protection of these reproductions through copyright or related rights is inconsistent with the expiry of the copyright protection of works. In addition, differences between the national copyright laws governing the protections of these reproductions give rise to legal uncertainty and affect the cross-border dissemination of works of visual arts in the public domain. Therefore, it should be clarified that certain reproductions of works of visual arts in the public domain should not be protected by copyright or related rights. This should not prevent cultural heritage institutions from selling reproductions, such as postcards.

This is also the first time the term "public domain" will become part of EU law (even though it is not defined, as some Member States were against that). Many thanks to everyone making this possible!