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Journalists and publishers unite in their call for a neighbouring right for publishers

31st August 2018

MEPs have a huge responsibility on 12 September when they vote again in Plenary on the copyright proposal: whether they support those who finance our independent press or whether they are prepared to allow US tech giants to continue to capture the revenues of Europe's press.

A Publisher's [neighbouring] Right is the best chance we have to create fairness in the digital eco-system

A Publisher's Right is the best chance we have to stop the practice of US tech giants monetising press publishers' content without permission or payment

A Publisher's Right is the best chance we have to sure up the future of the free press including fair pay and jobs for journalists, photographers and freelancers

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), and the IFJ (International Federation of Journalists), have added their voices to publishers' calls for MEPs to maintain the wording on the publishers' right (Article 11), as put forward by the Legal Affairs Committee, when they are asked to vote on 12 September in Plenary.

The proposal for a publisher's right - that has been scrutinised and approved by four Parliamentary committees - gives press publishers the legal-standing they need to be able to negotiate fair and workable terms for the distribution of press content in the digital world, whilst ensuring a fair and proportionate distribution of revenue between publishers and journalists.

Any limitation or amendment to Article 11 (including the suggestion of a presumption - which is opposed by the entire ecosystem) would dilute the right, rendering it unusable and meaning that both publishers and journalists would lose out.

The fact is that the lack of legal clarity in the digital world has allowed companies to free-ride on press content for the past decade, at the expense of professional journalism and Europe's independent press. The recent article by AFP journalist Sammy Ketz clearly illustrates the need for journalism to be funded, to have stories heard and for the establishment of a Publisher's neighbouring Right.

The Publishers' right:

  • gives publishers the legal standing already enjoyed by music, film and broadcasters which the press needs to assert its copyright online
  • encourages companies that wish to re-use and monetise publishers' content to negotiate licences
  • excludes individuals from the scope of the right - their right to share links will remain untouched
  • entitles journalists to a fair share of any additional licence revenue granted by the Right
  • specifically excludes hyperlinks from the scope of protection
  • is essential for small newspapers and magazines with their numerous journalistic digital startups across Europe who have even greater challenges than large publishing groups when attempting to exercise their rights against US corporations.

We hope that this information and insight 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 get involved with our initiative, www.empower-democracy.eu .

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