NME to Represent Publishers in EU Copyright Consultation

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the role of publishers in the copyright value chain which News Media Europe, the trade body for news media publishers in Europe, will be responding to.

Running until 15 June, the consultation will serve to gather views in particular on the impact that granting an EU “neighbouring right” to publishers could have on the publishing sector, on citizens and creative industries.

It will also collect input for the Commission’s analysis of the current legislative framework of the “panorama exception” – use of works, such as works of architecture or sculpture, made to be located permanently in public places.

The NME’s Copyright Task Force will be responding to the consultation in due course, following discussions with member publishers.  In addition, the NMA will work to ensure that a publishers’ right does not encourage a “harmonising down” of copyright, particularly in respect of employers’ ownership of material produced by employees, thereby weakening the position in the UK and other countries with similar regimes, for example  Ireland and the Netherlands. 

The NMA will also emphasise that a publishers’ right does not solve the fundamental problem, which is the disproportionate power of platforms.

The initiative comes in the wake of a roundtable meeting between News Media Europe, EPC, ENPA and EMMA and Commissioner Oettinger, Digital Economy and Society, on 25 January.  

In a joint submission sent to the Commissioner after the meeting the trade bodies have advocated the introduction of a specific legal publishers’ right at European level in the form of an exclusive right:

  • to authorise the reproduction or prohibit direct or indirect, temporary or permanent reproduction by any means and in any form, in whole or in part (i.e. giving publishers the right to define specific uses) of their published content;
  • and to authorise or prohibit any communication to the public of their content (published editions), by wire or wireless means, including the making available to the public of their works in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.

Publishers, unlike film and music publishers or broadcasters, do not possess any specific rights of their own at European level as regards their published products.   Given the mass dissemination that is the reality of today’s digital landscape, publishers seek clear rights as regards the scope of what is protected.