Kategorie European Parliament

EP Working Group should respect the full range of views  Am 26. März 2015 - 10:27 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Publikationsdatum 26.03.2015 ~ Art des Materials: Akteure: Schlagworte: Soziales System: Lizenz: 

Last week, several signatories sent an open letter to the coordinator of the Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright Reform at the European Parliament Jean-Marie Cavada. It calls for an inclusion of the civil society in the process to ensure a balanced representation of views.

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Two more EP Committies gang up against free linking   Am 12. Juli 2017 - 11:42 Uhr von Tom Hirche

After the European Parliament's Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) voted on its opinion on the new Copyright Directive a month ago, it were the Committees for Culture and Education (CULT) and for Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE - see the opinion) that both had their turns yesterday. The result: the suggestion of an even worse ancillary copyright for press publishers.

Mediocre starting position

Regarding the CULT's vote it was of little to no surprise that the European Commission's initial proposal for an ancillary copyright a.k.a. link tax appealed to the majority of MEPs. The draft opinion that had been prepared by the elected rapporteur Marc Joulaud (EPP) did already strongly favour the introduction of a new publisher's right. However, the outcome is nevertheless shocking because the Commission's proposal was not only approved but also changed for the worse!

In the case of the ITRE, the starting position looked a bit better as elected rapporteur Zdzisław Krasnodębski (ECR) proposed a change away from the publishers' right to the presumption that an author had transferred his rights onto the publishers. This would enable the latter to negotiate licence agreements and to fight infringements much easier while at the same time the freedom of the net would be maintained.

Tragically, in both Committees the good and fair amendments failed miserably to prevail against the destructive and hypocritical ones.

What was decided?

Both Committees' opinions want to expand the publishers' right's scope. Instead of applying to digital uses only, every use of publishers' texts shall be covered be it offline or online. Combined with the untouched Article 18(2) which states that the link tax shall also apply to all press publications published in the past, this would deeply damage the freedom of information.

But there are exceptions to it, right? Well, the ITRE also wants to get rid of the exception for scientific and academic papers. Organisations like the International Association for Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM) lobbied hard for their goal to not be excluded from the publishers' right. Although this might sound good at first glance, the consequence will be that people stop linking to these papers as they fear they have to pay a remuneration. This would be a hard blow to all open access initiatives and the free spread of knowledge.

The CULT wants a new exception to the link tax to be added that raises a tremendous amount of questions and thus only creates legal uncertainty:

"The rights granted under this Directive should be without prejudice to the authors’ rights and should not apply to the legitimate uses of press publications by individual users acting in a private and non-commercial capacity."

What is the definition of a "legitimate use" and whose decision will it be? The publishers'? When can the sharing of a link be regarded as private or non-commercial? Is it private when I share a link on a publicly accessible website? Is it non-commercial when I post a link on a website or platform that has ads?

The addition continues:

The protection granted to press publications under this Directive should apply to content automatically generated by an act of hyperlinking related to a press publication without prejudice to the legitimate use of quotations.

So we shall not be allowed to share a link when this automatically triggers the display of a snippet? What exactly is the harm to the publishers caused by this? Are they not able to handle all the additional viewers they receive? Do they really think any company will continue to make use of this technique when they have to pay for it?

Any hope?

The information of freedom is not yet lost. The Committee in charge of the European Parliament's final text is the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) which will have its final vote on 10th October 2017. Other Committees' opinions only provide something like a "specialized expertise" (although it does not look like this). Unfortunately, the new rapporteur of the JURI is a strong advocate of the new publishers' right. So don't stop to raise your voice and call your representatives!

Parliament's largest group to fully endorse Commission's proposal for a link tax   Am 9. Juli 2017 - 17:47 Uhr von Tom Hirche

The European Commission's proposal for an ancillary copyright for press publishers has received a tremendous amount of criticism from many MEPs of all groups of the European Parliament. But now the largest group, the European People's Party (EPP), has adopted a joint position that fully supports the Commission's line while ignoring the European people's voices and all academic advice. Weiter

Rogue members try to hijack LIBE Committee   Am 14. Juni 2017 - 18:29 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Almost a month ago, in mid May 2017, the draft opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on the EU-Commission's proposal for a new copyright directive has officially been published. As things just turned out, some hardliners suddenly want to amend it so that it will be strongly in favour of an ancillary copyright for press publishers. Weiter

Official version of Comodini report published   Am 20. März 2017 - 19:06 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Last Friday, the official version of MEP Therese Comodini Cachia's (EPP, Malta) draft of her report on the Commission's proposal for a directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market (DSM) was published. Comodini is the elected rapporteur of the leading committee for legal affairs (JURI). Although some minor changes have already been made compared to the version that was leaked a few days ago, the most important points have all been kept. The deadline for tabling amendments is March 30th. Weiter

MEPs sign Open Letter to Commission   Am 18. Dezember 2015 - 12:11 Uhr von Tom Hirche

A cross-party coalition formed by over 80 MEPs has written an Open Letter to President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, to European Commissioner for Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip as well as to European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Günther Oettinger. They are "deeply concerned about the Commission's Communication 'Towards a modern, more European copyright framework'". Weiter

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Martin Schulz vs. Parliament   Am 6. November 2015 - 14:35 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Martin Schulz (PES), President of the European Parliament and a trained bookseller, gave a Keynote at the Publishers' Summit this Monday in Berlin. It soon became clear that he disagrees with the majority of the Parliament in the matter of an ancillary copyright for press publishers. Weiter

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Last-minute amendment to Reda report!   Am 8. Juli 2015 - 22:00 Uhr von Tom Hirche

The ancillary copyright for press publishers might find its way into Julia Reda's report for a progressive copyright reform. A corresponding amendment was tabled in the last minute.

The amendment comes from MEP Angelika Niebler (EPP) whose attempt is backed by over 80 other members of the EPP, although the political groups had agreed not to table any additional proposals. By doing so, the proponents of such a right have renewed their attempt to insert text calling for the introduction of an EU-wide ancillary copyright for press publishers into the report after the first one (also tabled by Niebler) was rejected by the legal affairs committee of the European Parliament. Furthermore, Niebler’s own group approved a compromise amendment of all political groups criticising the ancillary copyright especially the Spanish Canon AEDE.

The amendment reads as follows:

57a. Calls on the Commission to evaluate and come forward with a proposal on how quality journalism can be preserved, even in the digital age, in order to guarantee media pluralism, in particular taking into account the important role journalists, authors and media providers such as press publishers play with regard thereto;

Although the text does not explicitly talk about an ancillary copyright for press publishers, its intention is obvious. "Niebler has engineered the wording such that [Digital Commissioner Günther] Oettinger could likely interpret this as the Parliament’s blessing for making a “snippet tax” part of his reform proposal", Reda writes on her site.

Tomorrow, the plenary of the Parliament will vote on the report. For now we can only call on the common sense of the MEPs to reject this amendment.

No lobby may gain enough power over politics to push through an obviously useless and counterproductive law. This vote is a chance for Members of the European Parliament to show that publishing houses do not have the same degree of power over us that they apparently do over German and Spanish lawmakers. Beyond laying to rest the idea of a EU-wide ancillary copyright law, it would also bolster the numerous experts who are calling for the abolishment of these laws in Germany and Spain. And finally, it could win back some of the people’s trust in the independence of this institution.

Julia Reda

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EP Working Group should respect the full range of views   Am 26. März 2015 - 12:26 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Last week, several signatories sent an open letter to the coordinator of the Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright Reform at the European Parliament Jean-Marie Cavada. It calls for an inclusion of the civil society in the process to ensure a balanced representation of views. Weiter

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