Brussels
12 December 2016
Reporter: Barney Dixon
EPC responds to 20-year link right denouncement
The European Publishers Council (EPC) has responded to assertions from the Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI) that EU proposals for a 20-year link right are “detrimental for authors”.

Responding to questions on the Digital Single Market initiative, Angela Mills Wade, executive director of the EPC said, “Strong economic rights benefit publishers and authors alike.”

“Being acknowledged in law as a rightholder brings clarity to the market to facilitate licensing, and before the courts to ease enforcement action at the publisher level on behalf of all who contribute to press publications.”

The EPC suggested that this will provide a basis for publishers to maintain sustainable journalism, and allow for further investment in digital skills and the creation of new jobs.

Further, the EPC said that there had been an abundance of “scare-mongering” and “misleading information” with regards to the link right.

It argued that a publisher’s right would have no effect on readers, and that publishers encourage their readers to link and share articles.

“According to a study on the Belgian market, the reuse of content without a license represents an estimated annual loss of license revenue amounting to around €27 million due to piracy and €7 million due to parasitism.”

It added: “The only people who will notice any changes at all are those who today free-ride for commercial gain on publishers’ investments without permission or payment. Who are they? Well not the readers, authors or individual users, but commercial organisations whose business models and significant economic benefits depend on the use of publishers’ journalistically-produced content.”

The new right, put forward by the European Commission in September as part of the Digital Single Market project, would provide publishers with the rights already afforded to authors, performers, and film and record producers.

If implemented, the right will allow publishers to secure licence fees from search engines and other intermediaries who use their content for up to 20 years from publication.

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