Kategorie proposal

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

IMCO supports link tax – several MEPs did not attend the vote   Am 8. Juni 2017 - 21:06 Uhr von Tom Hirche

This morning, the European Parliament's Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) voted on the Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive (2016/0280(COD)) as the first of five committees. The outcome is of great significance to the other votes that are yet to come. Unfortunately, the ancillary copyright for press publishers is still very much alive. Weiter

Opposition against link tax gets big ally from Spain   Am 24. März 2017 - 19:44 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Again and again the big (mainly German) publishing houses claim that an ancillary copyright for press publishers will do great good to their industry as a whole. They repeat their mantra despite the fact that several publishers are explicitly rejecting the introducing of such a right since this idea emerged in Germany a few years ago. Now, at a time when the European Parliament prepares to stop the Commission's plans, a major Spanish publisher joins those "rebels". Weiter

Stop the censorship machine!   Am 13. März 2017 - 18:38 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Besides the introduction of an ancillary copyright for press publishers a.k.a. the link tax, the European Commission also wants internet platforms to apply automated upload filtering technologies to all of their user's content. Together with 27 other civil society organisations, we have signed an open letter addressed to the European Institutions and urge them to delete this proposal. Weiter

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"Grossly disproportionate" – New study on publisher's right   Am 17. Januar 2017 - 12:14 Uhr von Tom Hirche

OpenForum Europe (OFE) has commissioned Dr. Mireille van Eechoud, who is Professor of Information Law at the University of Amsterdam's Faculty of Law, to conduct a study on the ancillary copyright for publishers as proposed by the European Commission. It is very carefully written and pays special attention to the freedom of expression, the special effects on authors and open data/science. Weiter

Snippets not only may but will be illegal   Am 16. Januar 2017 - 8:19 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Last week, the European People's Party (EPP) Group in the European Parliament held an event labelled "Hearing on Copyright". One of the speakers was Giuseppe Abbamonte, the Commission's director of media policy at the DG CONNECT, who said that we might all act illegally when we share articles, as reported by Chris Spillane from POLITICO. Weiter

British top scholars against European ancillary copyright for press publishers   Am 17. Dezember 2016 - 12:38 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Akteure: Schlagworte: Lizenz: 

A group of 37 professors and scholars of Intellectual Property, Information Law and Digital Economy have sent a joint letter to the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) presenting their view on the ancillary copyright for press publishers as proposed by the EU Commission. They advise the UK Government to oppose this proposal for various reasons. Weiter

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CEIPI's opinion on a European ancillary copyright for press publishers   Am 13. Dezember 2016 - 10:42 Uhr von Tom Hirche

On November 28, the Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI) at the University of Strasbourg has published its opinion on the European Commission's copyright reform proposal which was introduced on September 14, 2016. The opinion was written by Professor Christophe Geiger, Oleksandr Bulayenko and Giancarlo Frosio who solely focused on the proposed introduction of neighbouring rights for press publishers in EU law. In their view, the negative effects of the proposal prevail. Weiter

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Our statement on the Commission's proposal regarding a European ancillary copyright for press publishers   Am 6. Dezember 2016 - 15:36 Uhr von Tom Hirche

On the 20th September 2016 the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection called on all stakeholders involved to provide their opinion on the EU Commission's proposal for a directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market (DSM-directive). A few weeks later we submitted our statement which also functions as a condensed overview on all critical aspects regarding a European ancillary copyright for press publishers. Unfortunately, at that time it had only been available in German. But now you can either download an English version (PDF) or read the full text here: Weiter

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Debate in the Press Club Brussels: A tale about the lies of the publisher associations and the ignorance of the EU commission   Am 11. Oktober 2016 - 17:16 Uhr von Till Kreutzer

Yesterday, I was invited to speak at a public debate in the Press Club in Brussels. Main topic was the Commission’s proposal on the ancillary copyright. What I heard was a bunch of lies and a good measure of ignorance. Weiter