Brussels
12 July 2017
Reporter: Mark Dugdale

DSM copyright directive pushes on


The publisher’s right has moved one step closer to becoming law in the EU after two European Parliament committees signed off on the draft directive on copyright.

The European Parliament’s committees on culture and education and industry, research and energy passed Article 11 of the draft directive, first put forward last year to modernise EU copyright law, a number of amendments, including the removal of an exclusion for scientific publications.

Should the draft directive’s Article 11 pass the lead committee's vote in October and the scrutiny of the full European Parliament, press publishers will be able to charge licensing fees for links to—and the use of snippets from—their news stories in search services such as Google News.

The press publisher’s right, also known as the link tax and the neighbouring right for press publishers, will be enforceable for 20 years after publication.

European Publishers Council (EPC) executive director Angela Mills Wade commented: “The EPC welcomes the recognition by MEPs [members of European Parliament] that the neighbouring right for press publishers would help create a fairer digital ecosystem whereby consumers can access and enjoy our content 24/7 on multiple platforms and where tech companies and other businesses can use and distribute our content with permission and on mutually beneficially terms.

“The neighbouring right is crucial: in an era of fake news, publishers need to be economically viable to perform their essential role in society, providing eye-witness accounts, unearthing the truth, calling authorities to account and able to pay for quality investigative journalism.”

On the committees’ amendments, Mills Wade added: “We welcome the additional amendments adopted MEPs which put the press publishers more closely on a par with other neighbouring rightholders so they benefit from all the EU harmonised rights relevant to publishers for both online and print publications.

“Furthermore, in the wake of the scaremongering that readers will no longer be able to share links and articles for non-commercial purposes or post to social media, important amendments were adopted to clarify that this activity will continue as today perfectly legally.”

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