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.

The message of Mrs. Comodini’s draft report is again loud and clear: The ac has to be deleted, it is neither needed nor justified. Her explanatory statement to this claim reads:

„Using digital technology to facilitate the finding of news and press published in press publications is not necessarily disproportionately harmful to the financial interests of press publishers and in some cases it is these linking or referencing systems (such as hyperlinks) that facilitate the finding by users of news online portals.“

JURI draft also asks for an enforcement approach

The notion that the ancillary copyright is the wrong track and minor amendments in enforcement law can solve whatever problem press publishers might have with copyright law in the digital world turns out to be the prevailing opinion on the matter. Mrs. Comodini follows this approach and proposes a solution in that direction that reads:

“Member States shall provide publishers of press publications with a presumption of representation of authors of literary works contained therein and the legal capacity to sue in their own name when defending the rights of such authors for the digital use of their press publications.“

The relevance of the committee’s opinion

JURI’s opinion is the most important from the Parliament’s side. The legal affairs committee is leading the debate on the upcoming copyright reform. The next step is that the Comodini report will be discussed with all political groups in the parliament and eventually decided upon in plenary. However, since it only confirms what a great number of individual MEPs (across political groups), actual and former reports have stated before this should be a no-brainer.

Kudos to our political representatives!

So far, it thankfully turned out that the citizen’s representatives indeed care for their voter’s interests. At least concerning the ancillary copyright. Now, it is crucial that they stay on their path. And: The Commission and the European Council representatives are asked to adopt this widely accepted opinion of our representatives and the independent experts and do the right thing in the upcoming debates.

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