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Leaked plans for European copyright reform criticised

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World News Publishing Focus
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Leaked plans for European copyright reform criticised

As part of its Digital Single Market initiative, the European Commission is in the process of drafting a proposal for a new EU-wide copyright directive. The final proposal is scheduled to come out on 21 September, but a draft version leaked last week, provoking discussion on the Commission’s plans.

While it is possible that the final version will be substantially different from the leaked one, the draft should give an idea of the direction the Commission is taking.

The crucial aspect for news publishers is that the new directive would give the right to demand fees from news aggregators such as Google News, the Financial Times reported. Through so-called “neighbouring rights” publishers could ask for a levy if a third-party platform publishes a sample of their content.

The fees are not mandatory, but the hope is that this would give news publishers more leverage when negotiating with major online players such as Google.

The plan was met with skepticism, as similar attempts have so far failed: in Spain, Google shut down Google News as a reaction to fees, while in Germany, publishers agreed to license their content for free in order to not loose the traffic that Google News sends.

Politico took an even more critical stance regarding the draft proposal, saying that the European Commission’s reform had been led down “a blind alley”.

Among the criticised elements of the draft is the requirement for platforms to shift through material that is posted on them for copyrighted content – something that YouTube does but that allegedly is a too onerous requirement for any potential rivals, effectively preventing competition from arising.

Author

Teemu Henriksson's picture

Teemu Henriksson

Date

2016-09-02 17:41

Author information

The news publishing industry is experiencing transformation at an ever-growing pace, with new policy issues arising as the landscape changes.

We will be examining policy discussions that will define the news publishing environment of the future, the key topics being internet governance, privacy and copyright. Click here to learn more about our work.

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