Kategorie proposal

MEP Voss presents the most extreme proposal for a link tax (so far)   Am 29. März 2018 - 0:11 Uhr von Tom Hirche

We have called the publisher's right as proposed by the EU Commission in September 2016 an "ancillary copyright on steroids" – for good reasons! Now MEP Axel Voss has published his proposal for the European Parliament's position which is so extreme and destructive, not even the Incredible Hulk would dare to pick a fight.

Extension of the new right

Executives of press agencies will read the proposal with a big smile on their faces as their lobbying work has finally paid off: MEP Axel Voss wants to add them to the beneficiaries of the link tax. This is despite the fact that in their open letter the press agencies have made it clear that to them even the mere hyperlink will undoubtedly be covered by the new right – a case of intentionally breaking the internet.

The extension does not stop here. Additionally, the scope of the publisher's right shall be widened by incorporating more exclusive rights, i. e. rental and lending rights as well as the right for the distribution of press products. These extensions would inter alia drag libraries into the scope. Libraries lend or rent content to their users. The publisher right would add another layer of rights that they had to clear and pay remunerations for when they want to use press publications. It comes with no surprise that an explanation for the necessity of this stretch is nowhere to be found. The reason why the link tax in Germany has been a complete failure was not that press publishers were given too few rights. 

An inalienable right to remuneration will cause severe damage

Besides extending the scope of the new right which would have to be licenced, MEP Voss also added an inalienable right to remuneration to the text. In case of doubt, this levy would have to be negotiated with and paid to collecting societies. Not only is this combination of a bunch of exclusive rights with a remuneration right absurd, it will also have dramatic consequences. Even if a press publisher (or a press agency) is convinced that links to its articles eventually help its business, it still has to demand a payment for that. There will be no other choice.

It is not hard to predict what will happen next: news aggregators will shut down; search engine providers and social media platforms will delist or not allow links to news articles anymore. Maybe the large press media outlets will be spared from this adaptation, but smaller publishers will definitely suffer from this act of excessive paternalism as they will struggle to reach the public and attract readers.

This is not a vague guess but a simple repetition of what has already happened in Spain right after an inalienable link tax was introduced. Google News and other news aggregators were shut down and smaller publishers consequently experienced a harsh drop in the number of their readers. As a result, the Spanish Association of Daily Newspaper Publishers (AEDE) that had lobbied for this law demanded the national and EU authorities to step in and force Google to re-open its news aggregation service – without success.

Also, an inalienable right to remuneration causes fundamental conflicts with public licence models like Creative Commons. Against the basic idea of the "open" philosophie in Open Access, Open Content or Open Educational Resources (among others), every publisher of news will be legally forced to claim remuneration for the reuse of their content. MEP Julia Reda points out in her blog post that

"[s]uccessful innovative news companies such as eldiario, whose business model is completely based on Creative Commons, would take a hit, all in the name of 'supporting quality journalism'."

Theoretical participation in revenue

In an attempt to not only win other MEPs' approval but also of the International and the European Federation of Journalists, MEP Voss added some text to "ensure that authors [...] receive an appropriate share of the additional revenues press publishers receive". However, their share is limited to the money press publishers receive from internet service providers, i. e. search engine providers, news aggregators and social media platforms. The German publisher's right already has such a provision but over the last four and a half years since its introduction, the authors did not receive a single Euro until this day. This is due to various still ongoing legal trials that have cost the publishers millions while at the same time they were hardly making any money off their new right. In combination with the proposal for an Art. 12, according to which authors shall in the future have to share their levies with the publishers, the authors will end up with less in their pockets after the copyright reform than they had before. 

Contact your MEP!

If you are asking yourself what you can do about his (and even if not), simply go to OpenMedia's Save the Link website and use their e-mail form to write your MEP to stand up against the link tax. You can also write your own text and add a few words why MEP Axel Voss' proposal will be extremely harmful and should thus be rejected. In case you prefer to directly call your MEP, you can use another Save the Link website that will help you with that.

JURI members try to water down results of their own requested study   Am 8. Dezember 2017 - 16:21 Uhr von Tom Hirche

A couple of months ago, the European Parliament’s directorate general for internal policies of the union had commissioned a study on the proposed new right for publishers. After the results were published last October, they were finally presented to members of the Legal Affairs Committee yesterday. What should have been an informing workshop turned out to be yet another opportunity for the right's supporters to shut down arguments with their lies and to cause confusion. Weiter

The neighboring right for press publishers is a thread to Open Content and Open Access   Am 6. September 2017 - 14:37 Uhr von Till Kreutzer

Back in July, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) of the EU parliament suggested a few changes to the Commission's initial proposal for a new publisher's right. One of them is to remove the explicit exception for academic and scientific publications as found in recital 33 of the draft directive. This combined with the already extensive COM proposal would result in a tremendous threat to Open Content and Open Access publishing. Weiter

Estonia's proposal is good and bad at the same time   Am 31. August 2017 - 19:01 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Summer break is over. Statewatch has leaked a compromise proposal from the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union to the EU Commission's initial proposal for a directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market. When it comes to Article 11 containing the ancillary copyright for press publishers, the Presidency does not come up with only one but with two completely different proposals. Weiter

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 - opinion) and for Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE - opinion) that both had their turns yesterday. The result: the suggestion of an even worse ancillary copyright for press publishers. Weiter

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