As publishers of news, information and entertainment, we continue to draw the attention of European policy makers to the destructive impact of new rights and payments for linking and sharing news content online. These rights in Germany and Spain make it harder for us to grow online, reach new audiences, develop new markets. They create new barriers for entry for publishers to develop online. In Spain, we are even deprived of control over our own content, and obliged to charge via a collecting society, whether we like it or not.
As those who seek to salvage or expand those rights attempt to reframe their purpose, we continue to believe the creation of new rights will chiefly lead to more red tape and complexity for us. As businesses, we thrive for a European framework that cuts through red tape, not increases it. We thrive to reach new audiences and innovate to develop our business in the digital age. To succeed, we need a business friendly environment, not one that will drive years of legislative discussions, litigation and the involvement of intermediaries such as collecting societies. New “neighbouring rights” – including for “offline” activities – are of no obvious value to us.
This debate has dragged on for too long. What started in Germany in 2009, failed to reach any positive outcome in Germany and Spain, was rejected in France, Austria and Switzerland, is still being discussed seven years later. Despite multiple failures, despite any evidence that there is a copyright problem.
We encourage the EU to focus on creating the right environment for forward-looking, modern and diverse European press. This is not be about trying to salvage such as flawed concept as “ancillary” or “neighbouring” rights.
As a first step, we encourage European Union decision makers to reject the Commission’s proposal on the creation of an EU wide ancillary right for press publishers. We also ask them to use the means at their disposal to repeal these laws in Spain and Germany.