World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

EU copyright reform: “neighbouring rights” at the heart of the debate

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World News Publishing Focus
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EU copyright reform: “neighbouring rights” at the heart of the debate

Its introduction aims to protect digitally published press content, from the unlicensed use by online platforms such as news aggregators, web search engines or social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. The result will be that third parties, different from authors and news publishers, would have to obtain the express consent of the news publisher to reproduce the digital content and make it available to the public.

As the WAN-IFRA blog has already reported, newspaper associations across Europe welcomed the proposal. Among them, News Media Europe (NME) thinks that this new related right is a fundamental tool in order to protect freedom of expression, support innovation in times of digital change and ensure the preservation of good quality journalism. According to Executive Director Wout van Wijk, the reform recognizes press publishers as key actors in this process and it will enhance cooperation in the press industry through a more certain legal framework. This view is also shared by the European Publishers Council (EPC) and by the European Newspapers Association (ENPA).

The released proposal for a new and modernised copyright Directive is presented as a key instrument of the Digital Single Market Strategy (DSM). 

The introduction of this new right has also given rise to critical voices from different sides. Overall, they look at the experiences in Germany and Spain, where copyright laws have already seen the introduction of a similar ancillary right for newspapers. One of the most critical points of view is probably the one of Till Kreutzer, Director of “Initiative against Ancillary Right”, who argues against the need for such right, perceived as identical to the one already granted to journalists - and often transferred to publishers in working contracts. In addition, critics insist that the Directive should have addressed clearly the issue of “snippets”, while no definition can be found in the text. 

Also academics and legal scholars have expressed some criticism in a letter addressed to the Commission, saying they are concerned about the consistency of the reform and its objectives with some foundational principles of EU law.

The Proposal will be soon discussed by the European Parliament, under the co-decision legislative procedure which will also see the involvement of the Council of the European Union. 

These positions were discussed in a panel organised in Brussels on 10th October 2016 by the European Journalism Centre (EJC) and Google on the new copyright reform.

(image source)


Ilaria Fevola


2016-10-13 17:21

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

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