Political agreement reached on controversial EU Digital Copyright Directive: A fair and balanced result?

Following a turbulent course of lengthy negotiations and delays, political agreement was finally reached by the European Commission, European Parliament and the Council of the EU on the revised proposal of the EU Copyright Directive (the “Directive“) earlier this month. The final consolidated text was made available on 20 February 2019.

The Commission first adopted its proposal for the Directive back in September 2016, as part of its Digital Single Market Strategy. The Directive forms part of a broader initiative to “adapt copyright rules” to ensure they are “fit for a digital era“. The modernisation is long overdue, given the changes which have occurred in the use of material on the internet since its inception, including the explosion of social media.

The Directive is intended to develop a fair and sustainable marketplace for creators, the creative industries and the press; to this end, in the Commission’s press release, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, referred to the Directive as a “fair and balanced result that is fit for a digital Europe“. The European Parliament’s press release also refers to the Directive re-dressing the balance; ensuring “tech giants” share revenue with “artists and journalists” and also incentivising internet platforms to enter into fair licensing arrangements with rights holders.

The legislation has, however, been the subject of considerable lobbying and public pressure by copyright holders, technology companies and consumer digital rights advocates, which is unsurprising, given the vast array of stakeholder interests at play. In particular it has implications for online platforms and media companies. We set out below further detail around the more contentious provisions, Articles 13 and 11, and discuss the next steps for the legislation. Continue reading

New Government Outsourcing Playbook

Outsourcing has become an increasingly fraught activity, with a number of high-profile events such as the collapse of Carillion dominating the news cycle in recent months.  The launch of the Government Outsourcing Playbook is in part an acknowledgment of, and a response to, the heightened scrutiny that is being applied to outsourcing practices in general and public sector outsourcing in particular.  It also coincides with updates and releases of a number of other sourcing-related guidance notes and recent tweaks to the well-known Model Services Contract to address matters related to interpretation of EU law post-Brexit. Continue reading

Brexit, Data, Brexit

As we all continue to try to grapple with the implications of a no-deal Brexit, the last week or two has seen the publication of a few things of interest from a data protection perspective:

The EDPB’s view of data transfers in a no-deal Brexit scenario

On 12 February 2019, the European Data Protection Board (the “EDPB“) published a general information note on data transfers under the GDPR in the event of a no-deal Brexit (available here). In summary, the information note provides that organisations must comply with the GDPR when transferring personal data from the EU to the UK, which will become a “third country” for GDPR purposes (from 00.00 am CET on 30 March 2019). No new or additional safeguards are contemplated by the EDPB which effectively means that organisations must choose between:

  • Standard contractual clauses (which the EDPB acknowledges are “ready to use”);
  • Binding corporate rules;
  • Codes of conduct or certification mechanisms (although none are yet approved/available under the GDPR); or
  • Derogations such as individual explicit consent (although the EDPB emphasises that the derogations must be interpreted restrictively and mainly relate to processing activities that are occasional and non-repetitive).

For further information regarding the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit on data transfers, including an analysis of worked examples, please see our previous blog post available here.

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From Paris With Love: Latest Brexit Twist for Audiovisual Media Services Industry

NO DEAL PLANNING FULL STEAM AHEAD?

With just under 2 months to go before the UK is due to exit the EU and the possibility of a no-deal Brexit still looming, the UK audiovisual media services industry, the largest in the EU, was recently dealt a further blow; French President, Emmanuel Macron, confirmed that France will ensure the audiovisual media sector is excluded from any free trade agreement between the UK and the EU.

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UK Government note clarifies “no deal” and data protection

The UK Government has published a “no deal” note to clarify how data protection law will work in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The note confirms that separate draft regulations and more detailed guidance will be published in the next few weeks but, in the meantime, it clarifies at a high level a number of key issues for organisations both within the UK and outside but doing business with the UK. Continue reading

House of Commons briefing on mobile roaming and Brexit

In July 2017, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper on the impact of Brexit on the recent abolition of mobile roaming charges (the “Briefing Paper“).

The European Commission’s 2015 regulation on roaming and net neutrality (the so-called “Roaming Regulation“) established a new pricing regime for regulating roaming services and lead to the end of retail roaming charges across the EEA on 15 June 2017. Mobile phone users are therefore currently able to use their domestic mobile phone subscriptions when periodically travelling abroad without incurring additional charges (subject to a fair use policy). The Roaming Regulation also set maximum wholesale roaming charges between a mobile user’s domestic network operator and the foreign operator on whose network the customer roams whilst abroad. Continue reading

UK Digital Strategy includes focus on creating “a safe and secure cyberspace”

In March 2017, the Secretary of State for Media, Sport and Culture published its long-awaited strategy for a post-Brexit digital Britain. The UK Digital Strategy aims to support the growth of the UK digital economy. It builds on the framework of the government’s Industrial Strategy green paper published earlier this year – which the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has since warned does not go far enough in discussing the evolutionary implications that Brexit will have on the UK’s industrial strategy. Whilst the impact of the recent General Election is not yet known, the UK Digital Strategy is not seen as particularly controversial and we are likely to expect continuity in respect of the strategy going forward. Continue reading