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Open letter: 59 organisations encourage Axel Voss to delete ancillary copyright from the DSM directive

Am 19. April 2018 - 11:29 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.

Only a few weeks ago, Axel Voss had presented dramatic changes to article 11 which would increase the imminent damage even further. According to his proposal, press agencies shall be added to the list of beneficiaries. Also, more exclusive right shall be incorporated, i. e. rental and lending rights as well as the right for the distribution of press products which would inter alia drag libraries into the scope.

With our open letter we encourage Axel Voss and all the shadow rapporteurs in this matter to take into account the interests of millions of internet users, start-ups, cultural institutions, small publishers and many more stakeholders by deleting the ancillary copyright from the draft proposal for a new DSM directive.

It is without doubt that a free and pluralist press is essential to democracy. However, an ancillary copyright for press publishers, especially the one from article 11, will never contribute to that. Instead, massive collateral damage and a lose-lose-situation for everybody involved will be the result. This was proven by the experiences made in Spain and Germany but also by various academic researches.

The changes to the Commission’s proposal that have been suggested by Axel Voss so far do not address the problems but make them even worse. We, the signatories, therefore urgently call on Axel Voss to let go of the idea of an ancillary copyright and instead to consider the introduction of a legal presumption. It could pose an acceptable compromise in order to bring the interests of press publishers into balance with the opposing interests of the other stakeholders.

The full text of the open letter can be downloaded here:

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