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The Internet needs News Publishers, Society needs News Publishers, News Publishers need a Publisher’s Right

12th June 2018

It’ s time to take a stand for democracy:

If you believe in the value of a free and independent press to democracy, and if you believe that citizens should continue to have access to a large variety of content; if you believe voters should also in the future be able to rely on information from professional news outlets, which take responsibility for the content they publish; if you believe that creation of content in Europe has a value that should be remunerated, you will surely applaud the creation of a Publisher’ s Neighbouring Right.

MEPs are faced with the responsibility of ensuring that voters continue to benefit from a diverse media: a media that speaks for them; that asks the difficult questions; that is legally liable for the content it publishes; that finances professional journalism and a wide range of professional content.

The rapporteur in the European Parliament, MEP Axel Voss, has put forward a compromise proposal which addresses the major concerns raised during the debate:

A Publisher’ s Right will not break the internet: Hyperlinks are clearly excluded from the scope!

A Publisher’ s Right will not penalise consumers who share articles: the compromise clarifies that it only applies to uses by ’’ information society service providers’’ and therefore not to uses by consumers! Publishers will continue to encourage their readers to share their content non-commercially;

A Publisher’ s Right will bring copyright up-to-date with the digital world and it will secure the future of professional, journalistic fact-checked content: under the rapporteur’ s compromise, journalists would even receive a fair share of any additional new revenues publishers gain from licensing to aggregators.

There have been so many misrepresentations of what the proposal for a neighbouring right seeks to do, not least from companies that would gain from continuing to re-use publishers’ content without permission or remuneration with impunity. A neighbouring right would merely give news publishers the tools they need to assert their rights over their valuable professional content. Without this right, they are powerless to assert ownership and to bring those companies, who wish to monetise their content, to the table to negotiate licences or other mutually beneficial terms.

Some opponents say: small publishers are opposed to the right;

We say: EMMA, ENPA and NME represent thousands of small publishers. A letter signed by over 80 small and local publishers from all across Europe show their strong support for the right;

They say: Legal experts in the parliament are against the right.

We say: The study they refer to has been discredited discredited as authored by known opponents to the right.

They say: A Publisher’ s Right will destroy the internet

We say: Publishers’ content is valuable to internet companies. Fact. News publishers’ content provides platforms and news aggregator’ s services credibility, quality and authority. The biggest news aggregator has even started showing ads for some users on its news feed. This is probably testing the market for now, but it is a good and obvious example of how a dominant player seeks to monetise publishers’ content.

They say: MEPs should and do oppose the right

We say: Every European Parliamentary Committee that has voted on the Publisher’ s Right has either supported the proposal, or called for it to be even stronger.

With this right, publishers’ ability to discuss fair and workable terms for re-use of their professional content will be a major step towards securing the future of our independent, diverse, free press and address the current imbalance in the digital ecosystem whereby publishers finance and take legal responsibility for quality, professional content and other companies reap the rewards. Political support for the Publisher’ s Right demonstrates the need to robustly address the Value Gap. News publishers seek a fair digital market, one in which they can operate with legal certainty and on a level playing field.

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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