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Top-level deal

A behind-the-scenes deal has been struck between top officials of EU member states over the EU copyright directive. The deal may free academic libraries from the risk of royalty fees for copying extracts of digitally stored texts.

The compromise text, thrashed out by the Council of Ministers' permanent representatives committee, said: "In certain circumstances, where the prejudice to the rights-holder may be minimal, no obligation for payment may arise."

Its vagueness should allow EU member states to maintain their current copyright exceptions regarding free copying, although the text is expected to be amended by the European Parliament, which will debate the proposal later this year.

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