Today, Tuesday, 11 July, MEPs voting in the European Parliament’s Committees on Culture and Education (CULT) and Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), voted in favour of an important copyright proposal that acknowledges the role that press publishers play in our precious democracy.
European Publishers Council’s Executive Director Angela Mills Wade said: “The EPC welcomes the recognition by MEPs that the neighbouring right for press publishers would help create a fairer digital eco-system whereby consumers can access and enjoy our content 24/7 on multiple platforms and where tech companies and other businesses can use and distribute our content with permission and on mutually beneficially terms. The neighbouring right is crucial: in an era of fake news, publishers need to be economically viable to perform their essential role in society, providing eye-witness accounts, unearthing the truth, calling authorities to account and able to pay for quality investigative journalism.”
Angela continued: “We welcome the additional amendments adopted MEPs which put the press publishers more closely on a par with other neighbouring rightholders so they benefit from all the EU harmonised rights relevant to publishers for both online and print publications. Furthermore, in the wake of the scaremongering that readers will no longer be able to share links and articles for non commercial purposes or post to social media, important amendments were adopted to clarify that this activity will continue as today perfectly legally.”
MEPs in all three of the Committees that have voted to date (IMCO, ITRE and CULT) on the European Commission’s draft EU proposal for a directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, have approved the press publisher’s right sending a strong message of support to the lead committee which will vote in October and to Member States. The ITRE committee also removed the illogical exclusion of scientific publications from the draft. This neighbouring right for publishers, something already enjoyed by music and film producers and broadcasters, would make it:
- easier to prevent the routine copying, re-use and monetisation of publishers’ content without permission
- easier for start-ups to base their business model around using content legally
- easier to bring companies wishing to use publishers’ content to the table to negotiate agreements
- easier to prove to tech giants that publishers’ content is not theirs for the taking without agreements
- easier to take legal action against copyright infringers
Without a publisher’s right, third parties will continue to be able routinely to exploit the lack of legal clarity, and to divert revenue-earning opportunities to their own platforms and services. Without a publisher’s right, publishers’ ability to innovate or negotiate terms and invest in professional journalism is severely undermined.
Next steps: the final vote in JURI – the lead committee – is scheduled for October.