Red lines of small and medium publishers ahead of this week’s trilogues

Today, 11 February, we the Coallition of Innovative Media Publishers together with 41 small and medium sized publishers, media companies and digital native outlets, renewed our call to policymakers to introduce the appropriate safguards needed to ensure that all-sized media publishers can continue to co-exist in the EU.

In an open letter  sent to the Romanian Presidency, European Commission and MEPs ahead of today’s trilogue negotiations, we call on policy makers to 1) explicitly refer in Recital 43b to the exclusive nature of the publishers’ right and to the ability of press publishers to license their content for free and, (2) to exclude insubstantial parts of press publication to be excluded. 

Last week’s COREPER meeting revealed that Member States are strongly divided on the final text of Article 11 of the Copyright Directive with Sweden, Slovakia, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Italy, Luxembourg, Denmark, Czech Republic and Finland all rejecting the Presidency’s mandate. As time is running short, we believe it is imperative that European institutions strike a fair balance that also reflects the needs of small and local publishers in order to adopt a copyright reform fit for the digital age before EP elections.

More specifically, we call on policymakers to take into consideration the following actions:

I. Waivability of a neighbouring’s right

  • Introduce a new paragraph on Recital 34 (in line with the proposed text of the Austrian Presidency). Specifically:
    • “The rights granted to the publishers of press publications under this Directive are exclusive in nature and allow publishers of press publications to authorise or prohibit the uses of their press publications against the payment of remuneration or for free, for instance through free licences. The parties should remain free to negotiate the terms of use of the press publications”.
  • Revert back to the previous wording of Recital 43b: (43b) Nothing in this Directive should be interpreted as preventing holders of exclusive rights under Union copyright law from authorising the use of their works or other subject-matter for free, including through non-exclusive free licences for the benefit of any users , when they consider it appropriate.

II. Instubstantial parts of a press publication to be excluded

  • Maintain the exclusion of “mere facts” from the scope of the Directive, as currently proposed in recital 34;
  • Exclude headlines and short previews from the scope of the new publisher’s right in order to preserve our business model. Specifically:
    • Recital 34a: (…) “Therefore, it is appropriate to provide that the use of individual words, very short extracts, headlines or very short previews of press publications should not fall within the scope of the rights provided for in this Directive”.
    • Article 11 (1): “The rights referred to in the first subparagraph shall not apply in respect of uses of individual words, very short extracts, headlines or very short previews of a press publication”.

Read our open letter here.

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European Innovative Media Publishers

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