Brussel, 14th September 2016
Europe’s leading Newspaper and Magazine Publishers’ Associations EMMA, ENPA, EPC and NME welcome today’s proposal by the European Commission to recognize publishers as rightholders in EU copyright law.
“The introduction of a publisher’s right at EU-level is a necessary and historically important step in guaranteeing media pluralism as an essential basis for freedom of opinion and democracy in the digital world,” declared the publishers’ organizations today in Brussels. The Commission’s proposal takes into account the unsatisfactory situation whereby the high-quality content produced by press publishers contributes to the success of many online platforms that do not make a significant contribution to the content, while publishers do not benefit from an appropriate share of the value produced.
The Commission is correct in its assessment that, without adequate legal protection at EU level, the sustainability of publishing industries may be at stake with the risk of further negative consequences on media pluralism, democratic debate and quality of information.
On a daily basis, European newspaper and magazine publishers produce thousands of articles which, in the age of the internet, can be partly or fully copied, recycled and marketed by third parties within just a few seconds. Press publishers have long underlined the importance of being able to get a return on their investment in professional journalism, in particular in the context of third parties’ commercial use of their products, in order to continue their important role of providing information, entertainment and opinion in our democratic society. This has been recognised by the Commission in its proposal today, which provides protection for press publications and recognises the important role of press publishers. This step is long overdue, as all other sectors of the creative industries except for the publishing sector currently enjoy their own rights. It was time to close this loophole in order to provide legal certainty for press publications in the digital world.
To achieve this goal, it is important that the proposal is not subsequently weakened, and that it includes all the necessary rights to meaningfully enable press publishers to market their products. It is equally important to sustainably secure press publishers’ share of fair compensation for uses of the work made under limitations or exceptions, without being burdensome.
What remains certain is that the publisher’s right will have no impact on the freedom of the internet, in particular on linking. All regular copyright exceptions, such as those relating to quoting, illustration, research and private copying, etc. will still apply.