Last week’s Communication from the Commission did not explicitly state that they plan to introduce ancillary copyright in Europe, but it was very easy to read between the lines. Research in Spain has shown (and again in Germany) that ancillary copyright is good for no-one, so the echoes from the Commission about considering the introduction of an ancillary copyright was a cause for concern by over 80 MEPs. Together they wrote a letter to the Commission, stating:
While the Communication is taking great care in remaining non-committal in nature and open-ended towards the results, both the setting and supplementing references in chapter 4 are directly and unequivocally pointing towards the first steps towards the introduction of an ancillary copyright for the benefit of press publishers. The European Parliament has on many occasions positioned itself against the introduction of such an ancillary copyright. We urge the Commission to remain focused on a reform of copyright rules that strengthens the European Digital Single Market, fosters creativity and research while being aware of the dangers of undermining the foundations of one of the greatest revolutions in Information Technology.
Contrary to the suggestions in the Communication, there is no ambiguity in the interpretation of EU copyright rules with regards to content that is both legal in nature and freely accessible on the Internet. Sufficient clarity has been achieved with the judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the Svensson case.
We wholeheartedly agree with the concern expressed by the MEPs, which include signatories Vicky Ford (ECR), Felix Reda (Greens/EFA), Marietje Schaake (ALDE), and Josef Weidenholzer (S&D).
It is essential that we share the views of the public on ancillary copyright and other issues and questions with regard to copyright reform in Europe. You can so so until the end of the month via http://youcan.fixcopyright.eu/.