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10th September 2018

Europe is just one vote away from securing or undermining the independent media and jobs of thousands of professional journalists who together underpin our precious democracy

This week on 12th September, as a Member of the European Parliament you will be asked to vote again on the copyright reform. Voting for the Rapporteur's amendments to the Publisher's neighbouring Right (article 11) on Wednesday is crucial. Why?

The Rapporteur, MEP Axel Voss, has been listening to MEPs since the vote in July and has tabled some key amendments on hyperlinks, and to strengthen the position of the journalists to reflect the broad consensus in the Parliament. We ask you please to support the amendments from the Rapporteur which offer the only solution that will provide the necessary legal protection for press publishers to be able to monetise their content in the digital world to the benefit also of the journalists. Alternatives for a presumption, or for carve-outs for the use of snippets (see below) will not deliver this legal certainty and worse will strengthen the position of the platforms and content aggregators. The press publishers are against these alternatives; the journalists are against them, and many Member States too.

As you consider how to vote please remember that by supporting the amendments 151 to 155 (and AM 137 - 141 for the recitals) by MEP Axel Voss on article 11 - and, crucially, by rejecting alternatives, - as MEPs you have it in your power to:

  • help secure our independent media for the next generation
  • help ensure journalists can benefit from a share of any revenue generated by the right
  • modernise copyright with a proportionate approach that does not stifle digital innovation
  • promote fairness in the digital ecosystem
  • make copyright work on the web for news publishers and their readers
  • allow consumers to continue to share links, create memes and use Wikipedia
  • support genuine publishers, not fake news, and help them
  • fulfil their role in a democratic society
  • encourage innovation and publishing start-ups

There have been many amendments tabled which go against the compromises reached by the Rapporteur. If adopted these will undermine or even destroy the neighbouring right. Why?

Firstly: An exception for snippets, as suggested in Amendment 163, will destroy the neighbouring right by creating a new 'safe-harbour' for any search provider and all news aggregators, including those which are licenced today. If this amendment passes into law, the situation for press and journalists will be worse than today. Aggregators will be able to copy and publish snippets with impunity, thereby stripping out a core element of the value of press publications in order to monetise it themselves. Such a weakened neighbouring right will be unenforceable, and benefit platforms and aggregators who care only about making money and care nothing about the jobs of journalists or the investment of the press publishers. We ask you please to reject Amendment 163.

Secondly: A presumption would simply codify the dysfuntional status quo where it has become almost impossible to seek licences or take out enforcement actions. A presumption is not a modernization of copyright as it ignores the reality of mass scraping and commercial reuse of journalistic content. Journalists oppose it and press publishers oppose it and we ask you also to oppose a presumption.

In a nutshell, both the presumption and the 'safe-harbour' for use of snippets for commercial purposes would not improve the legal status of press publishers regarding the unauthorised use of their content by online services - the original objective of the proposal for a neighbouring right.

Please support the Rapporteur who has already included compromises in his own amendments. Anything less will not serve the long-term future of the journalists, or of an independent, European free press.


A carve-out for snippets isn't an option. A presumption isn't an option.

Please SUPPORT the following amendments:

151 to 155 (and AM 131, 137 - 141 for the recitals)

Please REJECT the following amendments:

89, 124, 212, 213, 245-248 (and AM 195, 196, 201, 227 and 228 for the recitals)

Back in 2016 when this proposal was first published, speaking at his State of the Union address, European Commission President Juncker said: "I want journalists, publishers and authors to be paid fairly for their work, whether it is made in studios or living rooms, whether it is disseminated offline or online, whether it is published via a copying machine or commercially hyperlinked on the web." The European Commission's stated objective is the following: "The EU needs modern copyright rules fit for the digital age. The European Commission has presented legislative proposals to make sure that consumers and creators can make the most of the digital world."

Consumers and creators can only make the most of the digital world if the creators have the legal means to monetise their creations. The Publisher's Right would provide press publishers with the legal tool they need to encourage lawful, licensed re-use of their valuable journalism.

Europe is a vote away from securing or undermining its valuable independent media.

We hope that this information and insights will make a valuable contribution to the political debate on our sector and that, if you are committed to a democratic Europe with a strong media landscape , you will feel inspired to support our initiative, www.empower-democracy.eu

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