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IGEL supports European publishers by opposing the ancillary copyright for press publishers

Am 11. Dezember 2014 - 15:17 Uhr von Till Kreutzer

As of today, associations of Polish, French, Spanish and Italian publishers dispatched an open letter to Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. In the letter, the publishers express their “concerns with the recent developments in Spanish law, which directly target the sharing, linking and aggregation of content online with a new form of ‘ancillary right' triggering mandatory payments. IGEL, the Initiative against an ancillary copyright law for press publishers, supported that letter and acted as a signatory.

Background

In November 2014 Spain introduced its own version of an ancillary copyright for press publishers. Accordingly news aggregators  have to pay levies when they link to articles by displaying news snippets in search results. Different from Germany, the royalty claims are inalienable, i.e. cannot be waived in Spain. The new rules come into force in January 2015. In response to the new law, Google announced yesterday that it will permanently shut down the Service Google News in Spain.

In an open letter, we, alongside four publishing associations and one global media group, explain our concerns with the tendency to create further ancillary copyrights such as those in Germany and Spain:

"As publishers of news, information and entertainment content, we are deeply troubled by this development. The ethos of our profession is to embrace freedom of information, and we are in no doubt that what is essentially an obligation to pay for links will be harmful in this respect. But while much will be said about the consequences of this law for citizen’s access to news, we fear that its destructive impact on news publishing will be passed under silence. This is particularly troubling in relation to legislation that claims to help news publishers.

As publishers, we know the new legislation will make it harder for us to be heard, to reach new readers and new audiences. As noted by the Spanish competition authority, the legislation creates new barriers to entry. Indeed, not only for new online services, but crucially also for news publishers such as ourselves..."

Read the full letter here (PDF).

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