In reply to the question what plans the Government has to bring forward legislative proposals to implement the EU Copyright Directive in UK law; the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy responded that ‘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’.
Recalling a report published in December 2019 into online copyright infringement and the value gap, BAPLA – the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies – concluded that in the past 10 years, its members had suffered a significant loss in income through copyright infringement attributed to unauthorised and unlicensed images on social media and whose members wholly endorsed the proposals in Article 17 of the DSM Directive 2017/790.
Article 17 contains provisions, inter alia, for online content-sharing providers to obtain authorisation form rights holders by concluding a licence agreement with strict liability for unauthorised acts by the providers when communicating and making available to the public copyright-protected works. Also included is a requirement for providers to act expeditiously in taking down and removing infringing works when brought to their attention by rights holders.
The expectation of the report was that implementation of Article 17 would have played a crucial role in restricting the distribution of unauthorised content.