Since its passing last year, there has been speculation about whether the UK would implement the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. This week, government minister Chris Skidmore confirmed that there were no plans to do so. Responding to a written question from Jo Steven MP, he stated that:
“The deadline for implementing the EU Copyright Directive is 7 June 2021. The United Kingdom will leave the European Union on 31 January 2020 and the Implementation Period will end on 31 December 2020. The Government has committed not to extend the Implementation Period. Therefore, the United Kingdom will not be required to implement the Directive, and the Government has no plans to do so. Any future changes to the UK copyright framework will be considered as part of the usual domestic policy process.”
This was echoed by comments made by culture minister Nigel Adams who, during a debate on the economic and social value of music this week, noted that while the government supported “the overall aims” of the Copyright Directive, the UK’s “imminent departure from the EU means we are not required to implement the Copyright Directive in full“.
Prior to becoming Prime Minister, Boris Johnson expressed doubts about the Copyright Directive, although it is unclear whether his criticism was limited to its more controversial provisions, or to the legislation overall.
Stakeholders hoping the government would commit wholeheartedly to implementing the Copyright Directive may be disappointed by these developments, although the statements made this week leave open the possibility that the UK could incorporate elements of the Directive into domestic law. Stay tuned to MediaWrites for updates and analysis on this issue as it develops.
See here for more MediaWrites coverage of the Copyright Directive.