Last-minute amendment to Reda report!  08/07/2015 by Tom Hirche

The ancillary copyright for press publishers might find its way into Julia Reda's report for a progressive copyright reform. A corresponding amendment was tabled in the last minute.

The amendment comes from MEP Angelika Niebler (EPP) whose attempt is backed by over 80 other members of the EPP, although the political groups had agreed not to table any additional proposals. By doing so, the proponents of such a right have renewed their attempt to insert text calling for the introduction of an EU-wide ancillary copyright for press publishers into the report after the first one (also tabled by Niebler) was rejected by the legal affairs committee of the European Parliament. Furthermore, Niebler’s own group approved a compromise amendment of all political groups criticising the ancillary copyright especially the Spanish Canon AEDE.

The amendment reads as follows:

57a. Calls on the Commission to evaluate and come forward with a proposal on how quality journalism can be preserved, even in the digital age, in order to guarantee media pluralism, in particular taking into account the important role journalists, authors and media providers such as press publishers play with regard thereto;

Although the text does not explicitly talk about an ancillary copyright for press publishers, its intention is obvious. "Niebler has engineered the wording such that [Digital Commissioner Günther] Oettinger could likely interpret this as the Parliament’s blessing for making a “snippet tax” part of his reform proposal", Reda writes on her site.

Tomorrow, the plenary of the Parliament will vote on the report. For now we can only call on the common sense of the MEPs to reject this amendment.

No lobby may gain enough power over politics to push through an obviously useless and counterproductive law. This vote is a chance for Members of the European Parliament to show that publishing houses do not have the same degree of power over us that they apparently do over German and Spanish lawmakers. Beyond laying to rest the idea of a EU-wide ancillary copyright law, it would also bolster the numerous experts who are calling for the abolishment of these laws in Germany and Spain. And finally, it could win back some of the people’s trust in the independence of this institution.

Julia Reda

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