Crucial EU Copyright Reform obstructed by European Parliament

Laura Rutkowski

In Strasbourg, MEPs voted to obstruct a crucial EU Copyright Reform from progressing to the final legislative stage last week.

They succumbed to an intense lobby of anti-copyright campaigners, US internet giants and vested interests that benefit from stealing and monetising publishers’ valuable content.

A spokesman for Europe’s publishers EMMA, ENPA, EPC and NME said: “We will fight on and ask MEPs to do the right thing when it comes to Plenary. However, it is disgraceful that a handful of powerful vested interests can get away with using misleading scare tactics and exaggerated false claims (that they know to be untrue) to interfere with the democratic process. 

“Four European Parliament committees have scrutinised, clarified, amended and approved the EU Copyright Reform over the past two years and those efforts to create a fairer, more sustainable digital ecosystem for the benefit of creators, distributors and consumers have now been jeopardised.” 

MEPs will now be asked to make further amendments to the report that was approved in JURI (Legal Affairs Committee) on 20 June. The amended report will be presented in Plenary in September for the full Parliament to vote on again.

PPA Managing Director Owen Meredith commented: “This is a disappointing result. We have worked hard to secure the support of the UK Government for the Publishers neighbouring Right achieved under Article 11 and Ministers here have backed the reform that would modernise copyright for the digital age. 

“There has been a great deal of misinformation presented during this debate by organisations determined to undermine the fundamental tenants of copyright and monetise content without recognising the publishers and other creators who have invested in content creation. We will continue working with our colleagues across Europe to ensure that when the mandate comes before the Parliament again in September, MEPs reconsider the proposal and think carefully about the consequences for our free press and on the future of professional journalism across Europe.”

The Publishers’ right:

• gives publishers the legal standing already enjoyed by music, film and broadcasters, which the press needs to assert its copyright online
• encourages companies that wish to re-use and monetise publishers’ content to negotiate licences
• excludes individuals from the scope of the right – their right to share links will remain untouched
• entitles journalists to a fair share of any additional licence revenue granted by the Right
• specifically excludes hyperlinks from the scope of protection
• is essential for small newspapers and magazines with their numerous journalistic digital startups across Europe who have even greater challenges than large publishing groups when attempting to exercise their rights against US corporations.

 

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