Rapporteur Catherine Stihler of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) in her draft opinion on the proposed Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive, suggests amendments that address many of the issues that we have identified with the proposal. Regarding ancillary copyright, she simply suggests that the best option is to the delete the article 11, which is what we have been advocating for.
The Rapporteur believes that the introduction of a press publishers right under Article 11 lacks sufficient justification. It is true that publishers may face challenges when enforcing licensed copyrights, but this issue should be addressed via an enforcement regulation. Simple changes made to Article 5 of the Enforcement Directive 2004/48/EC, making it also applicable to press publishers, will provide the necessary and appropriate means to solve this matter. The Rapporteur believes that there is no need to create a new right as publishers have the full right to opt-out of the ecosystem any time using simple technical means [emphasis added].
While recognizing the problems of the press publishers in digital era, we believe that all
of them can be addressed by establishing a rule that press publishers are entitled to enforce the copyrights over the works that are licensed to them. One way to do this would be by extending Art. 5 of the Enforcement Directive (2004/48/EC) to also apply to press publishers with regard to their licensed works or other subject matter. The other would be for publishers to review their business models and adjust them better to the digital reality.
Rapporteur Catherine Stihler is not the only one who claims that the best scenario for article 11 is to delete it. The same idea was raised by various groups such as European Research Centres and European Copyright Society. Various MEPs also oppose the idea, e.g. Vicky Ford (ECR), Felix Reda (Greens/EFA), Marietje Schaake (ALDE), and Josef Weidenholzer (S&D).
The Rapporteur in her draft opinion also underlines the negative impact that the new right will have on the market. She claims it will add another layer of complexity to licensing deals. She also underlines that the increase of publishers’ remuneration does not guarantee the increase of in authors’ remuneration. There are other ways of promoting high quality journalism and publishing, and the Rapporteur proposes tax incentives. We would be curious to see some more details on that idea.