MEPs Vote In Favour Of Publisher’s Right

The European Parliament’s JURI committee have voted in favour of achieving a copyright regime that is fit for the digital age when MEPs gave their backing to the Publisher’s Right.

Publishers welcomed the outcome of the vote this week when 16 MEPs on the legal affairs committee voted in favour of the text agreed in Trilogue. Nine MEPs voted against it.  

The next step for the draft legislation – which is supported by press bodies including the News Media Association – is the European Parliament plenary is which is provisionally scheduled for the end of March.

A spokesman for European Newspaper Publishers’ Association, European Magazine Media Association, European Publishers’ Council, and News Media Europe said: “We welcome the JURI committee’s decision and now call on the plenary to vote in support of Europe’s vital cultural and media landscape as it did by a large majority last September.

“The text, as agreed in Trilogue, would modernise copyright with a proportionate approach that does not stifle digital innovation.”

As well as lobbying for a strong Publisher’s Right for UK publishers, the NMA is seeking clarity from the UK Government over how the Copyright Directive will be implemented into domestic law as the Brexit process continues.

The UK Government is supportive of the Publisher’s Right, with the Culture Secretary telling the House of Commons in his Cairncross Review statement: “The Government supported the progress of the EU directive on copyright.

“We believe it appropriate that those who create content are properly rewarded for what they do. As he knows, this is a complex area, but we are keen to see further measures to ensure that content creators are properly rewarded.”

Under the text, reproducing more than “individual words or very short extracts” of press publications will require a licence. The act of hyperlinking itself is not covered by the Publisher’s Right, and it does not extend to the reporting of “mere facts.”

It remains to be seen how the courts will interpret “very short extracts,” however the text emphasises that the effectiveness of the right must not be undermined.