Mapping user rights in the evolving EU copyright framework

In a little less than a month from now, on the 7th of June 2021 the new Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive, that was adopted in April 2019 after much controversy will come into effect across the 27 EU Member States. While the directive is primarily known for its problematic provisions, such as the new rules requiring online content sharing platforms to install upload filters for copyrighted works (Article 17 of the Directive) and a new press publishers right (Article 15), it also includes a number of provisions that strengthen user rights in the EU Member States. Specifically the EU directive introduces a number of new, mandatory exceptions to copyright that will need to be implemented by all EU Member States:

These five mandatory exceptions supplement the existing list of 21 mostly optional exceptions from the 2001 Copyright in the Information Society Directive and the 2012 Orphan Works Directive, that provide the basis for the complicated patchwork of user rights in the European Union.

In 2016 Kennisland (the then host organisation of CC-Netherlands) launched the website that aimed to provide an overview of the implementation (or lack thereof) of the EU copyright exceptions in the various Member States.

In 2020 the Creative Commons Global Network Copyright Platform Activity Fund and Wikimedia Italy provided grants to rebuild so that the platform will also be able to provide information on the new copyright exceptions introduced by the DSM Directive that will come into effect this summer.

Work on the new version of the website, which is now hosted by COMMUNIA started November 2020. The backend of the website was rebuilt to use GitHub for the data and information storage. In addition the data model for the site was expanded to capture much more detailed information on the implementation of the exceptions in the member states. The software development work was carried out by Maarten Zeinstra (CC-Netherlands).

The new version of the website is available as a development version at and is currently being populated with implementation information. The initial implementation information is based on research conducted by Ana Lazarova (Digital Republic/CC-Bulgaria) and Teresa Nobre (CC-Portugal) drawing on input provided by the ReCreating Europe project.

The new version of the website will be officially launched during a COMMUNIA event on the implementation of the DSM Directive on the 7th of June (register here).

In the coming weeks we will start reaching out to members of the Creative Commons Global Network and copyright law scholars to help with validating and completing the initial information presented on the development website. You can find information on how to contribute to our effort to map user rights in the European Union by providing new information or to review existing information on our how to contribute page.

Paul Keller is Policy Director of Open Future, President of the COMMUNIA Association for the Public Domain and the former Public Lead of CC-Netherlands.

The new version of is made possible with contributions from the Creative Commons Global Network Copyright Platform Activity Fund and Wikimedia Italy.

Conversations highlighting the amazing work the CC Network does around the globe. Find out more about the CC Network at Cover image ”Low Flying Chickens” by Kollage Kid is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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Paul Keller

Paul Keller

EU digital policy. I work on more open © laws and help to open up data & collections. Depending on the task, I can shape-shift between being a systems architect

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