Kategorie proposal

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.

Link tax stays the same

The so-called DSM-directive was proposed by the European Commission in last year's September. For a few months now it has been and is still extensively discussed in several committees of the European Parliament. However, the various MEPs of the IMCO Committee could not agree on an own opinion in terms of the ancillary copyright for press publishers a.k.a. the link tax.

Each and every of the 22 submitted amendments dealing with article 11 of the Commission's proposal – this article contains the ancillary copyright – were rejected. That was done despite the fact that Rapporteur MEP Catherine Stihler (S&D) prepared a sound and balanced draft opinion of the IMCO Committee. It was aimed at ditching article 11 completely and backed by every political group except the EPP. Nevertheless, Stihler's draft opinion was unfortunately not adopted with the result that the IMCO Committee now supports the introduction of a link tax almost exactly as the European Commission had proposed it.

Little joy and plenty sorrow

Although article 11 itself remains as terrible as it has always been, a few other amendments have been adopted. The MEPs at least deleted the retroactive application of the ancillary copyright which was provided for by article 18. They also expanded the scope of the exception provision in recital 33 to now cover "acts of a computation referencing or indexing system such as hyperlinking".

But that is enough with the good news. What the MEPs also agreed on was to change recital 31 so that it now heavily criticizes news aggregators and search engines for posing "a severe threat to the employment and fair remuneration of journalists and the future of media pluralism". A German regional court has already ruled that the relation between search engines and publishers is a win-win-situation and publishing houses have clarified that they would profit from digital platforms. And what happens when they are forced to shut down could be watched in Spain after the introduction of their link tax.

Even more shockingly, due to the agreed on change of recital 32 the whole scope of article 11 gets extended to cover not only digital uses but also print. This is just absurd. If the publishers really only want to be enabled to more easily fight alleged massive online piracy, a mere presumption of representation would have been completely enough.

How could this happen?

The IMCO Committee has a total of 40 members plus another 40 substitute members. Still, the voting result only lists 19 votes for, seven against and six abstentions. Luckily, MEP Pascal Arimont's (EPP) completely unreasonable "alternative compromise" was not even put to vote as it did not find the necessary support. But there had been several amendments that could have been adopted if more MEPs were there. The complete left GUE/NGL group and half of the ECR group were missing. They might have good reasons for their absence, but in many cases it has been a very tight vote so that the presence of only a few more members could have made the difference. However, the outcome clearly shows that much more work needs to be done to convince our representatives to not destroy the internet but to enact fair and reasonable rules for the good of the people of Europe.

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