British top scholars against European ancillary copyright for press publishers

Am 17. Dezember 2016 - 12:38 Uhr von Tom Hirche
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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.

One is, that the publishers' expectation to increase their income is only "based upon wishful-thinking" as the experience with similar laws in Germany and Spain, where no additional income has been yielded, would clearly show.

Then, the Commission had failed to consider other options to reduce impediments to simplify enforcement like an "amendment of Article 5 of the EC Enforcement Directive, to create a presumption that a press publisher is entitled to bring proceedings to enforce the copyright in any article or other item appearing in a journal of which it is the identified publisher."

Furthermore, the Commission has overlooked that publishers' investments are already protected by the database right under Directive 96/9/EC. Also overlooked have been the additional costs such a right would cause especially to those operators who do not want to make use of their new right but who have to amend their (open-access) licenses.

Due to the lengthy duration of this right (20 years) the "social costs associated with the proposed experiment will be unnecessarily high."

The "poorly drafted" subject matter of the proposed right would diminish legal certainty because the definition of "press publication" would not only include print newspapers but also fanzines, action catalogues, blogs as well as the Rough Guide to Peru amongst others. The signees also point out other uncertainties.

In their eyes, "the proposed right is unnecessary, undesirable, would introduce an unacceptable level of uncertainty and be unlikely to achieve anything apart from adding to the complexity and cost of operating in the copyright environment."

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