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Aktuelles

Streit zwischen EU-Staaten bremst Verhandlungen aus   Am 22. Januar 2019 - 21:58 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Vertreter der Mitgliedstaaten im Europäischen Rat haben es bisher nicht geschafft, sich auf einen Kompromiss zu einigen. Die Trilog-Verhandlungen ziehen sich damit auf unbestimmte Zeit weiter in die Länge. Das gibt Grund zur Hoffnung. Weiter

Article 11: Negotiations did not bring any improvement so far   Am 18. Januar 2019 - 10:41 Uhr von Till Kreutzer

Originally, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council wanted to finalise the text of the planned Copyright Directive by the end of 2018. However, this goal was clearly missed so that negotiations were resumed last week.

Concerning the ancillary copyright for press publishers, the negotiations have already progressed quite far. All three institutions have agreed that Article 11 of the proposed directive should provide for such a right. If the reform is actually adopted and there are no more surprises, EU press publishers will have their own ancillary copyright on their press publications in the near future. This right would then exist alongside the copyrights of journalists and the intellectual property rights of other creatives who have contributed to the press publication.

The very idea that such a right could actually come is shocking. This new right is intended to solve the (financial) problems of publishers, but will eventually aggravate them and force smaller publishers out of the market. Providers of online services related to press products will limit the functionality of their services or shut them down entirely. The availability of information will decrease and the attractiveness of the European Union as a location for innovation and investment will continue to decline.

But despite all warnings, the trilogue negotiations are continuing at full speed. A completion within the next days or weeks is not unlikely. In the following we have summarised the points on which a final agreement has already been reached and what is still to be discussed.

The current status

Final: An exception for "private or non-commercial uses for press publications carried out by individual users" is added to limit the scope of Article 11.

If you want to copy a complete press article to your website, you already need a suitable licence from the copyright holder under current law. As authors mostly have no other choice but to transfer all of their rights to the press publishers (total buyout), it is already the latter who enforce those rights.

With Article 11 as it stands today, press publishers will be granted an additional right by law, an ancillary copyright that will cover every headline, every paragraph, every sub-clause of a press publication. Under this new right, even the sharing of a tiny excerpt of an article on the Internet will require a license.

Given this wide scope of protection, an exception for purely private and non-commercial uses is mandatory. But it is of little use if it is not clear in what cases a use is considered to be private or non-commercial. The current text of the directive is silent on this point. Is it private when I post an excerpt from a press publication on my publicly available blog or public profile on a social media platform? What if I do this within a closed group? Am I not yet acting commercially when I share the excerpt on a page or platform that displays advertisements or for which a royalty must be paid in order gain access? And what if I post the excerpt on my work-related profile page but there is no relation between the excerpt and my work?

These questions cannot be answered unequivocally. This will cause immense legal uncertainty which will prevent many people from exchanging information about press publications online at all. The financial risk of receiving a written warning and eventually having to pay a licence fee just for reproducing a sentence from an article is something most people will not want to take. A disaster for freedom of information.

 

Final: Article 11 contains another exception according to which the ancillary copyright for press publishers shall not extend to hyperlinks.

Again, it is completely unclear what kind of uses this exception will ultimately cover. Hyperlinks can take many different forms. What if I only share the "naked" link, but the link itself contains the complete title of the linked article (e.g. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190116-the-invisible-warning-signs-tha...)? In this case I would also have published a protected excerpt of the press publication online. Does the exception permit this use?

This situation is even worse when it comes to snippets. A snippet accompanies a link and contains a short excerpt from the linked page to give the user a first impression of its content. We encounter such snippets all the time in our everyday online life as there are hardly any links without snippets by now. Especially in social networks, almost every hyperlink is accompanied by a snippet.

If you link to a press publication, the snippet usually contains the headline and the first few words of the article. But that would be a use that is subject to licensing under Article 11. For this reason, an exception for snippets is absolutely necessary, so that the way we communicate online and share information with each other today is preserved.

But what does Article 11 actually mean when it says that hyperlinks should not be covered? Are snippets included? Nobody can say for sure. Without a clear exception, the use of snippets will drop sharply. The providers of social media platforms will ensure this themselves by deactivating the automatic insertion of a snippet in order to avoid their own liability under Article 13 of the Directive. Other service providers will reduce the display of snippets as it has already happened in Germany following the introduction of a national ancillary copyright for press publishers. The costs for displaying snippets are simply too high for most of them. Also, Google is currently testing what a directive-compliant result list would look like. Spoiler alert: it has no snippets.

 

Final: Journalists shall be able to use their rights to their press publications undisturbed by the new ancillary copyright for press publishers.

This regulation is well-meant but in the end it is a sham. It is common practice for journalists to conclude so-called total buyout agreements with press publishers. Under these agreements, journalists transfer all usage rights (including those for secondary exploitation) exclusively to the publisher for an unlimited period of time and without any geographical restrictions. This means that there is no longer any possibility for the journalists to continue using their rights. Thus, the agreed regulation runs empty.

In addition, press publishers are not deterred from asserting their ancillary copyright against the interests of journalists and they will do so. Journalists want to inform the people. This is achieved best when their texts are read by as many people as possible and then get shared (e.g. via a link). However, the ancillary copyright will restrict the visibility of journalistic content and thus its impact drastically. The journalists will be exposed to this situation helplessly as they are neither in a good negotiating position nor do they have the means to influence the assertion of the ancillary copyright by the press publishers.

 

Final: A large number of the copyright exceptions will also be applicable to the new publishers' right.

This is another attempt to create the impression that the new right for press publishers only applies within narrow limits and that article 11 is a fair provision. But that is not the case. The fewest exceptions to which reference is made are relevant at all. What does the sharing of a short extract of a press publication on Facebook have to do with ensuring the proper conduct of court proceedings or the repair of devices?

Only the right to quote seems helpful at first glance because it could permit the use of extracts from a press publication online. However, a number of strict conditions would have to be met. The mere setting of quotation marks is by far not enough. Rather, quotes may only be used as an accessory and require a discussion of their contents. The mere sharing of a link including a snippet obviously does not fit into this category. No one will make the necessary effort just to post a snippet to a linked press article or to post an interesting sentence from it.

Providers of search engines and news aggregators will not benefit from the right to quote either. In their results lists there is also no discussion of the content of the snippet. Thus, the licensing obligation for snippets will remain despite this regulation.

 

To be discussed: The uses of insubstantial parts of a press publication shall be excluded from the scope of Article 11.

In Germany, the national ancillary copyright for press publishers from 2013 already provides for an exception for "individual words and smallest text extracts". For over five years now, it is being discussed and even disputed in court what this means in specific terms. An end of this discussion is not in sight. Several million euros in litigation costs have piled up on the part of only a few German press publishers, and service providers have decided not to display any snippets at all instead of possibly displaying an excerpt that is too long.

The same will happen EU-wide if an equally vague exception is chosen to limit the scope of the ancillary copyright regarding very short extracts or snippets.

But if the ancillary copyright actually comes into force, an exception for such cases is absolutely necessary. However, the solutions discussed so far are all insufficient. The events in Germany have shown what vague specifications will cause. According to another proposal, it should be determined whether the excerpt used reflects the author's intellectual and creative work. This is not a satisfactory solution either because each individual extract would have to be checked separately and this process could not be automated by using algorithms.

A legally secure solution must be found. One that is easy to use in order to mitigate the collateral damage caused by an ancillary copyright for press publishers. The simplest solution would be to let protection begin only when a specific number of consecutive words or signs have been taken from the press publication. With this solution it would be easy to determine if an extract is subject to licensing or not.

It remains incomprehensible why there is no serious discussion about this solution. Instead, it is being considered to leave the decision to the member states. In the worst case, there will be 28 different regimes (as of today). As a result, access to and use of press publications will vary across the EU. In countries with an unclear regulation, many services are likely to be shut down. The closure of Google News in Spain shows just how realistic this scenario is.

 

To be discussed: The authors of the contents of a press publication could receive an appropriate share of the revenues press publishers receive for the use of their press publications.

The level of participation is still completely open. In any event, the share would depend on the revenues that press publishers generate with their ancillary copyright. Without income there will thus be no participation. In German law such a participation rule already exists but so far the authors have not received a single cent. This is not only due to the fact that hardly any money was collected at all but mainly because a multiple of the income was accumulated as litigation costs.

Even if these legal proceedings are eventually concluded, the publishers will endeavour to first compensate their millions in expenses. Where this money is supposed to come from remains completely unclear. Many providers cannot afford the licence fees demanded by the press publishers and therefore had to close their services. Others have restricted the functionality of their services in order to avoid paying license fees. Therefore, a participation of the authors is not to be expected in the next years—in Germany probably not in the next decades.

In addition, according to Article 12 of the planned copyright reform, publishers shall themselves participate in the authors' other income. Although in the public presentation it is the authors who are supposed to profit from the reform, in the end it is them who will have less money in their pockets than before.

 

To be discussed: The proposals for term of protection range from one year to 20 years.

The current discussion about the term of protection is a sham battle that distracts from the actual problems. It is merely a matter of creating a negotiating mass.

A term of protection serves to give the right holder time to at least balance out his investments. Press publications are particularly short-lived due to their common reference to current events. Their information value, and consequently their economic value, is high at the time of publication but declines rapidly. The exploitation is thus of particular importance right after the publication. Yesterday's news do not attract readers and therefore do not generate income. Consequently, there is no longer any need for protection on the part of press publishers.

For this reason, it does not matter whether the term of protection is one year, 20 years or 70 years. Even a protection period of several days will massively impair the availability of information.

Artikel 11: Verhandlungen führen zu keiner Verbesserung   Am 18. Januar 2019 - 8:58 Uhr von Till Kreutzer

Eigentlich wollten die Europäische Kommission, das Europäische Parlament und der Europäische Rat den Text der geplanten Urheberrechtsrichtlinie noch 2018 finalisieren. Dieses Ziel wurde jedoch deutlich verfehlt, sodass die Verhandlungen vergangene Woche wieder aufgenommen wurden. Weiter

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Advocate General considers German ancillary copyright law invalid   Am 20. Dezember 2018 - 17:39 Uhr von Tom Hirche

The many years of discussion and numerous court proceedings concerning the German ancillary copyright law for press publishers are likely to come to an abrupt end shortly. In his opinion, the Advocate General at the European Court of Justice declared the relevant provisions inapplicable. Weiter

No political consensus in 2018   Am 17. Dezember 2018 - 17:06 Uhr von Tom Hirche

The last trilogue negotiations for this year between representatives of European Parliament, European Commission and European Council took place last week. Again, an overall agreement could not be reached. Weiter

Generalanwalt erachtet deutsches Leistungsschutzrecht für unwirksam   Am 17. Dezember 2018 - 10:11 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Die langjährigen Diskussion und zahlreichen Gerichtsverfahren, die um das deutsche Leistungsschutzrecht für Presseverleger geführt werden, dürften in Kürze ein jähes Ende finden. Der Generalanwalt beim Europäischen Gerichtshof hat in seiner Stellungnahme die entsprechenden Vorschriften für unanwendbar erklärt. Weiter

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"Other nations should be wary of following the EU’s lead on this particular initiative."   Am 23. November 2018 - 15:37 Uhr von Tom Hirche

The European Commission, Council and Parliament are still negotiating the exact wording of an ancillary copyright for press publishers that will most likely be part of the upcoming EU Directive on copyright. If you have not yet heard about this new right or only a little and if you want to learn more about it, then Pamela Samuelson, who is the Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law at Berkeley Law School, has just written the perfect article for you. Weiter

Room for interpretations could lead to Spanish conditions   Am 31. Oktober 2018 - 0:08 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Representatives of the European Commission, the Council and the Parliament are currently negotiating a compromise solution for the new Copyright Directive. Unfortunately, it can be assumed to be certain that this Directive will contain an ancillary copyright for press publishers. However, the exact wording is not final yet. The devil is in the detail as the Parliament's proposal shows. Weiter

Leistungsschutzrecht und postfaktische Politik   Am 21. Oktober 2018 - 19:31 Uhr von Tom Hirche

In der aktuellen Ausgabe des "Wirtschaftsdienst" resümiert Dr. Till Kreutzer, wie sich die EU-Politik in Sachen Leistungsschutzrecht vor den postfaktischen Lobbyzug der Presseverlage hat spannen lassen: mit Gefühlen und Lügen für ein neues Recht, das nach eigener Aussage Qualitätsjournalismus sichern und damit Fake News bekämpfen soll.

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The internet has lost   Am 12. September 2018 - 14:09 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Today, the European Parliament held its second vote on copyright in the digital single market and it took the worst possible outcome. Amendments to delete article 11 altogether or to alter it into a rule of legal presumption were rejected by a large majority. Instead, MEP Axel Voss's latest proposal for an ancillary copyright for press publishers was adopted. The same goes for his proposal that aims to introduce upload filters in the EU. Weiter

Das Internet hat verloren   Am 12. September 2018 - 14:01 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Heute hat das Europäische Parlament seine zweite Abstimmung über das Urheberrecht im digitalen Binnenmarkt abgehalten. Dabei ist das denkbar schlechteste Ergebnis herausgekommen. Änderungsanträge, Artikel 11 insgesamt zu streichen oder in eine Vermutungsregel umzuwandeln, wurden mit großer Mehrheit abgelehnt. Stattdessen wurde der jüngste Vorschlag von MdEP Axel Voss (EVP, Deutschland) für ein Leistungsschutzrecht für Presseverleger angenommen. Gleiches gilt für seinen Vorschlag zur Einführung von Upload-Filtern in der EU. Weiter

Voss still ignores criticism and does not move an inch   Am 10. September 2018 - 18:13 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Although summer break has just ended, the next important vote at EU level is already coming up. Members of the European Parliament must agree on a common position on the proposed copyright reform. A key role here is played by MEP Axel Voss (EPP, Germany), rapporteur on the JURI Committee, who despite all criticism is unwilling to back away from his proposal. Weiter

Voss ignoriert weiterhin Kritik und ist zu keinem Kompromiss bereit   Am 6. September 2018 - 10:52 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Kaum ist die Sommerpause vorbei, steht auf EU-Ebene schon die erste wichtige Abstimmung an. Die Mitglieder des Europäischen Parlaments müssen sich auf eine gemeinsame Position zur geplanten Urheberrechtsreform einigen. Eine zentrale Rolle spielt dabei MdEP Axel Voss (EVP, Deutschland), zuständiger Berichterstatter im Rechtsausschuss, der trotz aller Kritik nicht bereit ist, von seinem Vorschlag abzurücken. Weiter

Introduction of Ancillary Copyright for Press Publishers now a "Question of Life and Death"   Am 31. August 2018 - 17:33 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Before the summer break in Brussels and Strasburg had officially ended, members of the European Parliament got hit by the latest lobbying campaign by press agencies and publishers. With blatant lies and twisted truths they once again called on MEPs to support the widely discussed ancillary copyright for press publishers. Supporting arguments based on actual facts are absent just like they have been in the past. Weiter

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Leistungsschutzrecht nun "eine Frage von Leben und Tod"   Am 28. August 2018 - 17:29 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Die Sommerpause ist noch nicht richtig zu Ende, da rollt schon die nächste Lobbykampagne der Presseagenturen und Verlage über die EU-Parlamentarier hinweg. Erneut versuchen sie, mit Lügen und kruden Behauptungen Stimmung für ein Leistungsschutzrecht für Presseverleger zu erzeugen. Sachliche Argumente hingegen sucht man erneut vergeblich. Weiter

Svoboda on link tax: "I do not see any positive consequences for anyone"   Am 7. August 2018 - 10:32 Uhr von Tom Hirche

In July 2017, the European People's Party (EPP) had adopted a joint position that fully endorses the Commission's plan for the introduction of an ancillary copyright for press publishers (link tax). But this has not changed the fact that party members are against this new right and actively try to prevent it. With MEP Svoboda, a very influential one has publicly renewed his criticism. Weiter

JURI report gets rejected by EP majority   Am 5. Juli 2018 - 17:51 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Akteure: Schlagworte: Lizenz: 

It was only two weeks ago, when the JURI Committee had finally adopted its report on the upcoming copyright reform. Today, it was rejected by the majority of the European Parliament that withdrew MEP Axel Voss's negotiation mandate. An important step on the way to prevent the EU from causing severe damage to the free flow of information. Weiter

Deutsche Netzpolitiker appellieren mit Offenem Brief an EP-Abgeordnete   Am 29. Juni 2018 - 16:45 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Eine, wie sie selbst schreibt, "ungewöhnliche Allianz" wendet sich mit einem Offenen Brief an die Abgeordnetinnen und Abgeordneten des Europäischen Parlaments. Darin werden sie von Vertreterinnen und Vertretern parteinaher netzpolitischer Vereine eindringlich gebeten, gegen den Beschluss des JURI-Ausschusses zu stimmen. Weiter

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JURI supports link tax but plenary can still fix copyright   Am 21. Juni 2018 - 16:21 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Last Wednesday on June 20, the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) voted on the Commission's proposal for a new copyright directive. Unfortunately, the ancillary copyright for press publishers as stipulated in article 11 was adopted with only little suggested changes. But it looks like this has not been the final vote yet. Weiter

JURI has adopted link tax   Am 20. Juni 2018 - 12:11 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Today at 10:48, the JURI Committee of the European Parliament has adopted the compromise amendment of rapporteur MEP Axel Voss (EPP, Germany) concerning article 11 with a 13:12 majority. All amendments calling for its deletion have thus been rejected. Now there is only the plenary of the European Parliament that has the power to overturn the plan of introducing an EU-wide ancillary copyright for press publishers. The fight for a free internet is not over!

Rechtsausschuss hat LSR zugestimmt   Am 20. Juni 2018 - 10:18 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Heute um 10:48 hat der Rechtsausschuss des Europäischen Parlaments (JURI) den Kompromissvorschlag von Berichterstatter MdEP Axel Voss (EVP, Deutschland) bzgl. Artikel 11 mit einer Mehrheit von 13:12 angenommen. All Änderungsvorschläge, die eine Streichung von Artikel 11 bezweckt hatten, wurde damit zurückgewiesen. Nun liegt einzig am Plenum des Europäischen Parlaments, die Pläne zur Einführung eines EU-weiten Leistungsschutzrechts für Presseverleger zu kippen. Der Kampf für ein freies Internet ist noch nicht vorbei!

Sascha Lobo: "Such a nonsense law"   Am 19. Juni 2018 - 11:03 Uhr von Redaktion

With the ancillary copyright, some publishers want to get a digital money printing machine from politicians – soon also at the EU level. How did we come to this? Weiter

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Lobo: Leistungsschutzrecht ist "realitätsfernes Quatschgesetz"   Am 15. Juni 2018 - 9:38 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Jeden Mittwoch erscheint Sascha Lobos Kolumne für SPIEGEL Online, in der er sich ein ums andere Mal mit hochaktuellen digitalpolitischen Themen auseinandersetzt. In seinem jüngsten Text befasst er sich mit den Plänen für ein EU-weites Leistungsschutzrecht für Presseverleger. Lobos Fazit findet sich gleich in der Überschrift: "So ein Quatschgesetz." Weiter

Take a minute to #SaveYourInternet   Am 12. Juni 2018 - 16:23 Uhr von Tom Hirche

In eight days, the Legal Affairs Committee will finally vote on its compromise amendment for the upcoming copyright directive. This will be followed by the whole plenum of the European Parliament voting on a common position. Your and everybody else's internet freedom is at stake. Act now, get in touch with your MEP and #SaveYourInternet. Weiter

Nimm dir nur eine Minute und #SaveYourInternet   Am 12. Juni 2018 - 14:41 Uhr von Tom Hirche

In acht Tagen wird der Rechtsausschuss endlich über seine Änderungsvorschläge für die bevorstehende neue Urheberrechtsrichtlinie abstimmen. Anschließend wird sich das gesamte Plenum des Europäischen Parlaments auf eine gemeinsame Position einigen. Es ist höchste Zeit zu handeln! Melde Dich bei Deinem EU-Abgeordneten und #SaveYourInternet! Weiter

German government is intentionally stalling evaluation process to prevent evidence against publishers' right   Am 11. Juni 2018 - 16:03 Uhr von Tom Hirche

It was on 1 August 2013 when the ancillary copyright for press publishers became effective in Germany. Nearly five years have passed by since then with the promised evaluation of one of the worst laws of the recent past still yet to come. But the German government is intentionally stalling the process. Weiter

Over 100 MEPs sign an open letter against introduction of link tax   Am 7. Juni 2018 - 12:27 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Today, a total of 104 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from across the political groups published an open letter addressing MEP Axel Voss (EPP, Germany) who is the lead Rapporteur on the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market for the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee. Weiter

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Member States agree on implementation of link tax   Am 29. Mai 2018 - 11:34 Uhr von Tom Hirche

After months of discussions, the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Council (COREPER) has agreed its common position on the text for the upcoming Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. This position will serve as a negotiating mandate for the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Despite all warnings, this mandate also allows for the introduction of an ancillary copyright for press publishers aka the link tax. Weiter

Voss's changes can not cure the rotten root   Am 17. Mai 2018 - 16:03 Uhr von Tom Hirche

The rapporteur of the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) of the European Parliament, MEP Axel Voss (EPP, Germany) has updated his draft compromise amendment for Article 11, the ancillary copyright for press publishers, pushing for a vote next month. Although the proposed text is now less extreme compared to the first version from seven weeks ago, it fails to tackle the real problem. Weiter

Verlage zahlen weiterhin kräftig drauf   Am 17. Mai 2018 - 9:22 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Laut dem aktuellen Geschäftsbericht der VG Media für 2017 sorgt das Leistungsschutzrecht für Presseverleger weiterhin für fette rote Zahlen. Damit setzt sich die Entwicklung der vergangen Jahre ungebremst fort. Weiter