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EU Digital Single Market Plan Paves Way to Access

EU_copyrightEU member states will be required to harmonize their copyright laws and adopt digital technologies after the European Commission presented this month its proposal for a European Digital Single Market.

Under the five-year strategy, member states will be required to harmonize and implement reforms that will among others give users and right holders access to digital goods and services across Europe, thus creating a favorable environment for digital networks and innovative services to grow as well as boost the potential of the digital economy.

The 2016-2020 plan directly impacts the travel industry, which relies in large part on photographs to promote visited destinations. Under past outdated laws, photographs taken of material such as artworks, architectural buildings and monuments were subject to copyright laws and fees. Now, content portability is central, with the aim being to create an online EU-wide market where consumers and businesses can carry out activities irrespective of nationality or place of residence.

Under the Digital Single Market Strategy, travelers will be allowed to upload and access their online content when they travel. At the same time, EU citizens will benefit from their online purchases in other EU countries when on travel is a first step towards improving access to cultural works.

Greece currently has outdated copyright legislation dating back to 1998 including such obsolete rules as fees being required “for photographs taken with a professional camera” or archaeological sites being charged a daily fee for each site that can potentially be the subject of a photo. Under the latest Commission scheme, Greece will have to adapt to EU standards which foresee among others that no prior authorisation of the rights holder is required for the use of works, widening access to content, revising exceptions to copyright infringement, creating a fairer marketplace in terms of rightsholder remuneration and facilitating copyright enforcement in the online world.

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