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European publishing bodies have welcomed the fact that the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Council (Coreper) has called for the introduction of an exclusive right for press publishers in EU copyright law.
On 25 May 2018 Coreper agreed its position on a draft directive aimed at modernising the European copyright framework and adapting it to the requirements of the digital age.
News Media Europe, which is supported by the News Media Association, the European Publishers’ Council, the European Magazine Media Association and the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association welcomed the announcement.
By harmonising practises across member states the directive will also increase legal certainty in the digital single market. The common position will serve as a mandate for the presidency of the Council to start negotiations with the European Parliament, once the latter has finalised its own position.
The Council compromise text would create a new right for press publishers for the online use of their press publications, which is in line with the European Commission’s original proposal. However, the protection would only last one year instead of the 20 years proposed by the Commission.
The protection would cover the use of parts of press publications, save for insubstantial parts. To determine whether a part of a press publication is ‘insubstantial’, member states will be able to apply either an originality criterion or a size criterion (for instance very short excerpts), or both.
Although the publishers’ consortium believes that the original proposal “offers more clarity and legal certainty”, they have hailed the Council mandate as “a decisive step in the right direction”. It represents a recognition of the need to protect investment in content, to make copyright management fit for the digital world and to ensure a healthy, independent and diverse free press for the good of democratic society.