Reed Smith Client Alerts

At the end of March the European Commission issued a “Notice to Stakeholders. Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU Rules in the Field of Copyright.”  It is a helpful but notably incomplete summary of the legal repercussions of Brexit on copyright law in the UK and EU.

Authors: Stephen Edwards

In what ways is the Notice incomplete?

  • It assumes that as from the withdrawal date, 30 March 2019, EU rules in the field of copyright will no longer apply in the United Kingdom.  That is unlikely to be the case, because the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill now being debated in Parliament provides that on and after that date EU-derived UK legislation will continue to have effect and direct EU legislation (for example, an EU Regulation) will continue to form part of UK law. Moreover, some EU rules have been embedded in UK legislation in ways that mean they will be unaffected by Brexit.
  • It omits to mention at least one of the implications of Brexit – see paragraph 1(b) below.
  • Inevitably, until we know if the transitional agreement that will govern EU/UK relations for a two year period from 30 March 2019 will preserve reciprocity in the copyright field, it is impossible to say with certainty what the full range of the implications will be during those two years.  Moreover, what the situation will be after those two years will depend upon the terms of the trade agreement that the UK will be negotiating with the EU to govern their long-term relationship.

The EU Notice outlines under the six headings used in this Alert the consequences of Brexit in the field of copyright and related rights.