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LIBE Committee remains silent on link tax   20/11/2017 by Tom Hirche

Today, the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) has finally voted on its opinion on the Commission's proposal for a new copyright directive. While problematic provisions for mandatory content filtering have been tackled, the Committee did not take any stand when it came to the ancillary copyright for press publishers aka the link tax. Read more

European Parliament's study suggests abandonment of link tax   13/10/2017 by Tom Hirche

Now that is some good news! An independent study reviewing the publisher's right a.k.a. link tax that had been requested by the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) has just been published this week. It confirms once and for all what we and others were saying for quite some time now: the link tax will be harmful and should therefore be abandoned right away. Read more

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The neighboring right for press publishers is a thread to Open Content and Open Access   06/09/2017 by Till Kreutzer

Back in July, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) of the EU parliament suggested a few changes to the Commission's initial proposal for a new publisher's right. One of them is to remove the explicit exception for academic and scientific publications as found in recital 33 of the draft directive. This combined with the already extensive COM proposal would result in a tremendous threat to Open Content and Open Access publishing. Read more

Estonia's proposal is good and bad at the same time   31/08/2017 by Tom Hirche

Summer break is over. Statewatch has leaked a compromise proposal from the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union to the EU Commission's initial proposal for a directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market. When it comes to Article 11 containing the ancillary copyright for press publishers, the Presidency does not come up with only one but with two completely different proposals. Read more

Publishers will hardly get any money, if anything   30/08/2017 by Tom Hirche

The publishers pushing for their new right a.k.a. the link tax want to be paid first and foremost by providers of news aggregators and search engines. They demand a fee for the provider's service of linking to their publications and bringing them visitors hence money. Despite the unmatched absurdity of this idea, what numbers are we actually talking about? Read more

ITRE deceives itself by attacking research and open access   21/07/2017 by Tom Hirche

Already three out of five EP Committees have voted on their opinion on the Commission's Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. So far it seems we are heading into a future where a European wide publisher's right will be present. One particular Committee even tries to directly attack open access publishing. Read more

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Two more EP Committies gang up against free linking   12/07/2017 by Tom Hirche

After the European Parliament's Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) voted on its opinion on the new Copyright Directive a month ago, it were the Committees for Culture and Education (CULT - opinion) and for Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE - opinion) that both had their turns yesterday. The result: the suggestion of an even worse ancillary copyright for press publishers. Read more

Parliament's largest group to fully endorse Commission's proposal for a link tax   09/07/2017 by Tom Hirche

The European Commission's proposal for an ancillary copyright for press publishers has received a tremendous amount of criticism from many MEPs of all groups of the European Parliament. But now the largest group, the European People's Party (EPP), has adopted a joint position that fully supports the Commission's line while ignoring the European people's voices and all academic advice. Read more

Google's design changes might soon end all lawsuits   03/07/2017 by Tom Hirche

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German courts have to deal with a variety of lawsuits that involve the German ancillary copyright for press publishers. But Google's design changes might bringt a sudden end. Read more

Cheap trick shall make us think the Spanish link tax works   03/07/2017 by Tom Hirche

The Spanish link tax is indeed no success story. All it "achieved" so far is the permanent shutdown of Google News Spain which led to a large drop in publishers' site views while not accumulating a single euro. Although this situation will change with the just closed deal, it first and foremost tries to shamelessly fool us into thinking that the link tax is actually working. Read more

Publisher associations lie to S&D MEPs   03/07/2017 by Till Kreutzer

We got word that the European publisher organisations EMMA, ENPA, EPC and NME addressed all S&D MEPs last week in an email. Here they explain how and why a neighbouring/ancillary copyright for press publishers would be so fundamental, e.g. for quality journalism, to pay journalists et cet. As usual, the text is full of lies and allegations. Most of the arguments are well known and were rebutted by many commentators on many occasions (read about these and others e.g. here and here) before. Allow us, nonetheless, a brief comment. Read more

Ansip only believes in surveys that confirm his view   02/07/2017 by Tom Hirche

The European Commission regularly makes use of surveys to gather a wide array of opinions from various stakeholders. But when the result does not meet the preconceived view, its relevance will simply be denied, as it seems. Read more

Rogue members try to hijack LIBE Committee   14/06/2017 by Tom Hirche

Almost a month ago, in mid May 2017, the draft opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on the EU-Commission's proposal for a new copyright directive has officially been published. As things just turned out, some hardliners suddenly want to amend it so that it will be strongly in favour of an ancillary copyright for press publishers. Read more

IMCO supports link tax – several MEPs did not attend the vote   08/06/2017 by Tom Hirche

This morning, the European Parliament's Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) voted on the Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive (2016/0280(COD)) as the first of five committees. The outcome is of great significance to the other votes that are yet to come. Unfortunately, the ancillary copyright for press publishers is still very much alive. Read more

New paper discusses publisher's right – "unnecessary and dangerous"   01/06/2017 by Tom Hirche

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With the support of the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), the European Policy Centre (EPC) has published a new discussion paper titled "Rewarding quality journalism or distorting the Digital Single Market? The case for and against neighbouring rights for press publishers". It is divided into an economy analysis (part I) and a legal analysis (part II). Read more

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The "Alternative Compromise" could hardly be worse   31/05/2017 by Tom Hirche

In her just published blog post, MEP Julia Reda (Greens/EFA) draws attention to the alarming developments within the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee. Instead of joining the committee's internal negotiations, Belgian MEP Pascal Arimont (EPP) is currently gathering support for his own "Alternative Compromise Amendment on Publisher’s Right" which is the worst we have seen so far in this debate. Read more

Welcome Copybuzz!   10/05/2017 by Tom Hirche

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If you feel confused and/or want to know what is going on with copyright these and the coming days, there is a new website just for you: CopyBuzz! It was launched at this year's re:publica and is supported by the Copyright for Creativity (C4C), the coalition that seeks an informed debate on how copyright can more effectively promote innovation, access, and creativity. Read more

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Opposition against link tax gets big ally from Spain   24/03/2017 by Tom Hirche

Again and again the big (mainly German) publishing houses claim that an ancillary copyright for press publishers will do great good to their industry as a whole. They repeat their mantra despite the fact that several publishers are explicitly rejecting the introducing of such a right since this idea emerged in Germany a few years ago. Now, at a time when the European Parliament prepares to stop the Commission's plans, a major Spanish publisher joins those "rebels". Read more

Official version of Comodini report published   20/03/2017 by Tom Hirche

Last Friday, the official version of MEP Therese Comodini Cachia's (EPP, Malta) draft of her report on the Commission's proposal for a directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market (DSM) was published. Comodini is the elected rapporteur of the leading committee for legal affairs (JURI). Although some minor changes have already been made compared to the version that was leaked a few days ago, the most important points have all been kept. The deadline for tabling amendments is March 30th. Read more

Stop the censorship machine!   13/03/2017 by Tom Hirche

Besides the introduction of an ancillary copyright for press publishers a.k.a. the link tax, the European Commission also wants internet platforms to apply automated upload filtering technologies to all of their user's content. Together with 27 other civil society organisations, we have signed an open letter addressed to the European Institutions and urge them to delete this proposal. Read more

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Legal Affairs committee also demands to abolish ancillary copyright   08/03/2017 by Till Kreutzer

Today, the conservative member of the European Parliament Therese Comodini Cachia (EPP, Malta) published her proposal for the DSM directive. The elected rapporteur of the leading committee for legal affairs (JURI) asks for numerous amendments to the infamous draft DSM directive presented by commissioner Günther Oettinger last year. Most notably, in line with Europe’s leading copyright experts and the opinion of the rapporteur for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) and many other commentators, she demands to get rid of the ancillary copyright. Read more

400 pages of new insights   24/02/2017 by Tom Hirche

Months ago, Matthias Schindler from the office of MEP Julia Reda (Greens/EFA) has submitted a freedom of information request to the European Commission and just a few days ago he finally received 400 pages (!) of secrets surrounding the proposed European ancillary copyright for press publishers/the publisher's right. POLITICO's Chris Spillane has identified numerous "things you need to know". Read more

European Parliament committee demands to abolish ancillary copyright   24/02/2017 by Till Kreutzer

Today the draft opinion of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) was published. Here, rapporteur Catherine Stihler (S&D Group) claims a number of sensible and important amendments to the disappointing Commission’s draft DSM directive. Most notably she demands to ditch the ancillary copyright for press publishers (ac) once and for all.

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Leading European copyright scholars fundamentally criticise the ancillary copyright   23/02/2017 by Till Kreutzer

As of today, a broad coalition of European copyright scholars wrote an open letter to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. It openly opposes Art. 11 (ancillary copyright) and 13 (mandatory content filtering). The letter’s first signatories consist of a number of the leading academic experts on copyright. They represent some of the most respected research centres in Europe that deal with copyright research from legal, economical and other perspectives.

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French MEP pushes for an ancillary copyright on snippets   09/02/2017 by Till Kreutzer

Today, the Committee for Culture and Education (CULT) in the European Parliament issued a draft opinion on the DSM directive proposal. Here, the rapporteur, French MEP Marc Joulaud (conservatives, EPP), proposes bluntly the protection (i.e. monopolisation) of even the smallest parts of press publications. He tries to disguise his proposal, however, as a step towards the user’s interests. Read more

New tariff will kill Spanish aggregators   09/02/2017 by Tom Hirche

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Within the last couple of months, it has been very quiet about the Spanish link tax which aims to charge content aggregators a fee if they publish snippets of a news article. As a consequence, after this law was passed, Google News Spain, the main target of this measure, was shut down in 2014. But now the Spanish Reproduction Rights Centre (CEDRO) has initiated a new round of negotiations with several affected online services. The figures they ask for are shocking. Read more

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German District Court considers ancillary copyright null and void   08/02/2017 by Till Kreutzer

In an oral hearing at the district court of Berlin on Tuesday, the presiding judge held that the German ancillary copyright (ac) had to be notified by the German Government. If the court clings to this assessment the German ac could be declared ineffective, null and void. Read more

"Grossly disproportionate" – New study on publisher's right   17/01/2017 by Tom Hirche

OpenForum Europe (OFE) has commissioned Dr. Mireille van Eechoud, who is Professor of Information Law at the University of Amsterdam's Faculty of Law, to conduct a study on the ancillary copyright for publishers as proposed by the European Commission. It is very carefully written and pays special attention to the freedom of expression, the special effects on authors and open data/science. Read more

Snippets not only may but will be illegal   16/01/2017 by Tom Hirche

Last week, the European People's Party (EPP) Group in the European Parliament held an event labelled "Hearing on Copyright". One of the speakers was Giuseppe Abbamonte, the Commission's director of media policy at the DG CONNECT, who said that we might all act illegally when we share articles, as reported by Chris Spillane from POLITICO. Read more

British top scholars against European ancillary copyright for press publishers   17/12/2016 by Tom Hirche

A group of 37 professors and scholars of Intellectual Property, Information Law and Digital Economy have sent a joint letter to the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) presenting their view on the ancillary copyright for press publishers as proposed by the EU Commission. They advise the UK Government to oppose this proposal for various reasons. Read more

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