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European publishers dismayed at the latest changes to the proposed EU copyright reform

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European publishers dismayed at the latest changes to the proposed EU copyright reform

Under scrutiny at the Parliament is the proposal for a new EU copyright reform unveiled by the Commission last October, which introduced an ancillary right for press publishers in relation to the digital use of their content (“neighbouring right” in the Directive’s language). This would be an autonomous right on the digitally published work, independent from the one belonging to the author: publishers would be right holders similarly to producers in the music industry, for example.

In the report from Cachia the “publishers’ right” has been removed and replaced with a “presumption of representation”, which would make it possible for publishers to take legal action against internet platforms when their work is displayed without permission, Politico reports.  

“The European Parliament must realise that our society needs a copyright environment that ensures long-term survival and prosperity of a plural and diverse publishing industry”, said Gerald Grünberger, Chair of the Committee of Directors of WAN-IFRA member associations, and managing director of the Austrian Newspaper Association.

Europe’s leading Newspaper and Magazine Publishers’ Associations EMMA, ENPA, EPC and NME said: “Mrs Comodini has bypassed the fundamental issue that the Commission addressed in their proposal that the law should recognise that publishers own the content they publish and make available. She fails to address the problem, which her own group identified in their position paper, namely, the relationship between news aggregators and search engines. A legal standing through a neighbouring right is more straightforward than her construct which incentivises litigation over negotiation.”

The proponents of the “publisher’s right” argue that it would clearly assign to publishers the ownership of the content they make available online. As a consequence it would incentivise licensing, allowing news publishers to receive a fair compensation from third parties for the use of their work, which would in turn help them continue to finance quality journalism. This solution would also ensure the availability of an actionable right against non-permitted copies or commercial uses. 

The European publishers associations specify that the recognition of a “publisher’s right” would not impact the possibility for consumers to ”link, share and comment on press publications”, as all regular copyright exceptions “such as those relating to quoting, illustration, research and private copying, etc. will still apply”. 

 “This draft report strongly undermines the European Commission’s goal for a well-functioning market place for copyright as it fails to address the current imbalance between internet platforms on the one hand and publishers on the other”, said Sarah Davis, chairman of News Media Europe’s copyright task force.

Carlo Perrone, President of ENPA said: “Press publishers urge the European Parliament to ensure a clear and unambiguous right for the press like any other creative sectors (cinema, music or broadcasting). This right is an indispensable condition for the sustainability of the press and for the future of journalism in Europe.”

 The current draft will still be further amended by the end of the month, after being debated at the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee. The Parliament is expected to vote on it by the end of the year.



Elena Perotti's picture

Elena Perotti


2017-03-09 16:19

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