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Aktuelles

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.

It starts with repeating the publishers' main arguments that had somehow convinced the EU legislature to become active. For example, they claimed to have difficulties "in proving copyright ownership in articles written by freelancers when suing search engines or news aggregators." They also complained that providers of search engines and news aggregators "are making money, either from advertising or from subscriptions, by providing members of the public with free access to their news, through links and snippets, without compensating the publishers who provided that news."

The same arguments had already been brought up in Germany and Spain a couple of years ago and had led to the passing of two laws that are similar to what is now being discussed on EU level. In Samuelson's words, "these laws have met with much less success than their proponents had hoped." The article elaborates on the still pending lawsuits in Germany, the publishers' struggles to receive any license fees at all and the harsh drop in traffic to Spanish news sites. Considering this, one could also say that these laws had failed miserably and exactly as predicted in the past.

As one example for the vast criticism, Samuelson quotes extracts from a profound statement to the EU Parliament that has been signed by over 200 European IP scholars. Nonetheless, there are many more arguments that in the end should leave no doubt that an ancillary copyright for press publishers is not just the wrong tool to reach the desired goal but it is outright dangerous to freedom of information.

But despite this criticism, the EU legislature is currently working out the final wording of the new right. The article presents the current state of internal discussions and what amendments have been proposed by the EU Parliament like "an exception for individual users to make 'legitimate private and noncommercial uses' of press content." When presenting certain provisions that might be in the final text, Samuelson rightfully highlights the vagueness and uncertainty they would spread.

Towards the end, she points out the "irony in the EU’s prospective adoption of a Directive aimed at promoting a 'digital single market', given that no one licensing entity exists from which technology firms can get an EU-wide license." Although this is indeed true, it could be easily fixed in the future. But what is much more relevant is another point Samuelson makes: "The new press publisher right would seem to impose significant transaction costs as well as licensing fees on individual bloggers, innovative startups, and small enterprises who may want to link to journalistic content from European sites." She is right. It is them as well as the smaller publishers who will have to fight for their economic survival. There is no logical basis as to how this is supposed to save (quality) journalism.

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.

Parliament places special emphasis on remuneration

While an EU regulation applies uniformly in all member states at the time of its entry into force, EU directives must be transposed into national law by each member state within a certain period of time. If the Directive is not sufficiently concrete at one point and therefore offers too much room for interpretations, it can easily lead to different transposition by the Member States. The example of the European Parliament's proposal for a directive on ancillary copyright for press publishers shows just how easily this can happen and how dramatic the consequences can be.

According to the proposal, recital 32 shall read: "Such protection [of press publishers] should be effectively guaranteed through the introduction, in Union law, of rights related to copyright for the reproduction and making available to the public of press publications in respect of digital uses in order to obtain fair and proportionate remuneration for such uses. [...] In addition, the listing in a search engine should not be considered as fair and proportionate remuneration." (emphasis added)

Additionally, Article 11 shall read: "Member States shall provide publishers of press publications with the rights provided for in Article 2 and Article 3(2) of Directive 2001/29/EC so that they may obtain fair and proportionate remuneration for the digital use of their press publications by information society service providers." (emphasis added)

Dangerous room for interpretations

The Parliament's proposal makes it clear that press publishers should receive financial compensation from search engine providers in particular when they display links to publishers' websites. Member States, however, could now come up with the idea that this goal could be achieved most effectively if publishers could not waive their right to remuneration. Only the amount of the remuneration claim would then still be negotiable, but not its assertion. To justify their interpretation, the Member States could refer to the German ancillary copyright which does not provide for an obligation to pay remuneration and has failed (albeit for a variety of reasons). So far, almost all publishers in Germany have granted Google a free licence for use.

Now this interpretation result is by no means mandatory. But it is also far from being completely absurd. The mere fact that different interpretations are possible poses a great danger that must not be underestimated or minimized.

Dramatic consequences

What a remuneration obligation leads to could and still can be observed in Spain. The Spanish ancillary copyright for press publishers provides for exactly such an obligation since its introduction in 2014. As a reaction to this, Google News was closed which has severely affected small publishers in particular. As they are less known, their websites are less often visited deliberately. That's why they are much more dependent on redirects by search engines, social media & Co. than the big news portals.

In addition, it is not clear at what word or character length the protection by the ancillary copyright law applies. The European Council proposes an exception for "insubstantial parts of a press publication". However, the decision as to what is to be understood by this shall be left to the Member States. The German copyright law already provides for an exception for "individual words or smallest text excerpts". What does that mean in practice? Nobody can say for sure. This has been the subject of controversy for years with no result.

The same legal uncertainty paired with a payment obligation would probably be the end for online services that prepare press products in a user-friendly way. Small providers would not be able to take this legal and financial risk and would be pushed out of the European market (see the open letter by the Coalition of Innovation Media Publishers). This has already happened in Spain (and even in Germany). Start-ups would no longer occur because of the high investment costs. And whether Google or Facebook would pay can be strongly doubted due to the lack of willingness so far.

In the end, only the big publishers will benefit while small publishers, innovative start-ups and ultimately the citizens will lose out.

And by the way, a payment obligation is absolutely incompatible with open licenses such as Creative Commons.

Urgent need for change

For this reason, such ambiguities must not be allowed to appear in the final text. It must be made clear that publishers are free to waive their right to remuneration. It is therefore essential to include a corresponding addition.

 

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

Open letter: "The EU Copyright Directive is failing" and should be stopped   Am 26. April 2018 - 16:39 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Another open letter has been sent to the members of the European Parliament, this time by academics from 25 leading intellectual property research centres in Europe. They request them to stop the legislation process altogether if it continues to progress in the form proposed by the recent drafts of the Bulgarian Presidency and JURI rapporteur Voss. Weiter

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Nearly 170 academics warn against ancillary copyright for press publishers   Am 25. April 2018 - 11:05 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Another open letter calling for the deletion of Art. 11 of the proposed DSM directive has been sent out to the members of the European Parliament today. It was signed by not less than 169 scholars (and counting) from all over Europe of whom 100 are full professors. Weiter

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Open letter: 59 organisations encourage Axel Voss to delete ancillary copyright from the DSM directive   Am 19. April 2018 - 10:29 Uhr von Tom Hirche

In a couple of weeks, the Legal Committee of the European Parliament (JURI) will release its opinion on the EU Commission’s proposal for a new copyright directive. The responsible rapporteur MEP Axel Voss (EPP, Germany) is currently making his final conversations with the shadow rapporteurs of the other political groups. For this very reason, together with Communia and OpenMedia/Safe-the-Link, we have sent out an open letter that was co-signed by 56 further organisations. Weiter

Open Letter: 59 Organisationen fordern Axel Voss auf, das Leistungsschutzrecht aus der Urheberrechts-Richtlinie zu streichen   Am 19. April 2018 - 8:27 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Der Rechtsausschuss des Europäischen Parlaments wird in wenigen Wochen seine Stellungnahme zum EU-Kommissionsvorschlag für eine neue Urheberrechts-Richtlinie präsentieren. Der zuständige Berichterstatter MdEP Axel Voss (EVP, Deutschland) führt gerade die letzten Gespräche mit den Schattenberichterstattern der anderen Fraktionen . Zusammen mit COMMUNIA und OpenMedia/Safe-the-Link haben wir deshalb einen Open Letter verfasst, dem sich 56 weitere Organisationen angeschlossen haben. Weiter

MEP Voss presents the most extreme proposal for a link tax (so far)   Am 28. März 2018 - 23:11 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. Weiter