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Cyprus faces EU legal action over copyright with 22 other Member States

eu commisioners
EU Commissioners

Cyprus, France, Spain, Italy and 20 other EU countries may be taken to court for their tardiness in enacting landmark EU copyright rules into national law, the European Commission said on Monday as it asked the group to explain the delays.

The copyright rules, adopted two years ago, aim to ensure a level playing field between the European Union’s trillion-euro creative industries and online platforms such as Google, owned by Alphabet (GOOGL.O), and Facebook (FB.O).

“The two Directives aim to modernise EU copyright rules and to enable consumers and creators to make the most of the digital world. They reinforce the position of creative industries, allow for more digital uses in core areas of society, and facilitate the distribution of radio and television programmes across the EU,” the EC said.

Some of Europe’s artists and broadcasters, however, are still not happy, in particular over the interpretation of a key provision, Article 17, which is intended to force sharing platforms such as YouTube and Instagram to filter copyrighted content.

The Commission said it had sent letters of formal notice, the first step of its infringement proceedings, to the countries group asking for explanations. The deadline for enacting the EU rules was June 7. In the absence of a “satisfactory response”, the Commission said that it may decide to issue reasoned opinions, the next stage in the infringement proceedings.

The other countries are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia and Slovakia.

They have two months to respond to the Commission or receive a warning, known as a reasoned opinion. The next step is a referral to the EU’s top court in Luxembourg.

The EU executive also said it had asked France, Spain and 19 other EU countries to explain why they missed a June 7 deadline to enact separate copyright rules for online transmission of radio and TV programmes.

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