NME: Neighbouring Right Would Grant Publishers Fair Remuneration for Use of Content

Neighbouring rights won’t break the internet, cost the consumer anything, or stifle innovation, News Media Europe has said. 

Instead, neighbouring rights would give publishers the legal right to decide on how and where their content is made available and how it used commercially, fuelling innovation and investment. 

In a speech at a roundtable on copyright and internet freedom organised by Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake today, Wout van Wijk, NME executive director, told MEPs that publishers were seeking  their  fair share of the value derives by others from their content through a “neighbouring right” for the online use of their news publications.

Wout said: “News publishers recognise that search and social media platforms are important partners for news organisations and that their traffic brings benefits, although not on the exaggerated scale claimed by some.  However, the current system does not recognise the value third parties get from publishers’ content. 

“In a world where advertising revenues, an important stream of income for publishers, is under pressure due to increasing dominance of large internet platforms (A recent US study showed that 85 cents of every dollar spent on online advertising go to Facebook and Google), publishers are looking for a fair share of the value others derive from their content by its commercial exploitation. Please bear in mind – content may be free to access, it is not free to create.

“The introduction of neighbouring rights recognises publishers as rightsholders. This recognition gives publishers the bargaining power they need in the asymmetric relationship that they currently face vis-a-vis the platforms, to get a fair remuneration for the commercial use of their content.

“Introducing neighbouring rights isn’t about punishing the platforms – it is about cooperation. It is about the sustainability of the industry. It is about being able to invest in new and innovative services for the consumer.

“We want the pie to be bigger for the entire ecosystem, we don’t want to be left fighting over the crumbs. But most of all, it is about preserving quality journalism, content that is subject to editorial oversight, written by journalists that are granted the freedom to produce quality content, thereby empowering the truth.”