Yesterday, 20 June, the European Parliament found an agreement on the creation of an EU neighbouring right. The provision puts the digital press in jeopardy by disrupting digital publishers’ presence online and access to readers. Despite the industry’s reiterated reservations against the proposal, the parliamentary committee responsible for justice matters (“JURI Committee”) adopted its report on the Directive for a Copyright in the Digital Single Market with 14 votes in favour. In the event that the totality of parliamentarians endorses such decision in the July’s Plenary Meeting, the European Parliament would be in the position to start negotiations with the Council of the EU already in September.
“The neighbouring right will impose financial compensation for sharing, linking or reproducing editorial content. By changing the market balance and penalising news aggregators, this measure risks to have serious impact on our business models and on the freedom of information at large”, says Carlos Astiz, Chair of the Coalition of European Innovative Media Publishers and the AEEPP.
“The adoption of a new right, under article 11 of the Directive, disappoints the Coalition and the whole European Digital press. We sought dialogue with the European Commission and the European Parliament throughout the whole process and shared our concerns constructively; we are very disappointed that our voice was not heard and our views disconsidered” added the Chairman.
The JURI Committee’s decision is not final: 75 Members of the Parliament can still challenge it at the next Plenary meeting, on 2 to 5 of July. If this happens, it could allow for the re-opening of the legislative process, albeit difficult to achieve. Germans Greens MEP Julia Reda is expected to lead such a group and trigger a new evaluation of the Committee vote.
Astiz concludes that “The Coalition of European Innovative Media Publishers hopes that the Plenary reconsiders the JURI Committee’s position and takes in high consideration the many pieces of evidence that stand against the introduction of a neighbouring right.”