Copyright Alliance tells MEPs that vote in favour of trilogue text is vote for future of independent press

Written by Martin Banks on 12 March 2019 in News
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MEPs have been urged to adopt the EU’s controversial copyright directive when it comes up for final its vote in plenary at the end of this month.

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MEPs have been urged to adopt the EU’s controversial copyright directive when it comes up for final its vote in plenary at the end of this month.

The plea comes in a letter from 227 organisations representing authors, composers, writers, journalists, performers and others working in all artistic fields, news agencies, book, press and music publishers, audiovisual and independent music producers.

A spokesman for the informal alliance, #Yes2copyright, said, “This is a historical opportunity. We need an internet that is fair and sustainable for all. This is why we urge EU policymakers to adopt the directive quickly, as agreed in trilogue negotiations.”

The letter to MEPs, seen by this website, reads, “This directive has been long sought to create a much-needed level playing field for all actors of the creative sector in the European Digital Single Market, whilst giving citizens better access to a wider array of content.”

Tech giants such as Google and Twitter, however, strongly oppose adoption of the directive in its current guise saying it will restrict freedom of the internet.

However, the alliance says that “129 weeks of debate, discussion, negotiation and compromise have resulted in a proposal for a copyright directive that is “fit for the digital age.”


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It adds, “Just one more vote by MEPs in the European Parliament stand between a dysfunctional digital ecosystem - where internet giants freeride on creators’ content and undermine the future of professional journalism and our democracy-enhancing independent media - and copyright that actually works online and means that the internet will continue to be populated with valuable, diverse content including professional, fact-checked journalism.”

It goes on to attack the “misleading claims” against the proposal over the past two years by “ardent anti-copyright campaigners,” saying, “The vested interests of internet giants have proven unfounded and the text agreed in trilogue addresses all the concerns raised during the debate.”

The alliance specifically says that use of the hyperlink is safe as it is “excluded from the scope of the Publisher’s Right and always was.” It says that the non-commercial use by individual users of press publications will not be affected, adding, “they will still be able to link and share articles with friends and family as before.”

Journalists will benefit from the right, it is claimed, as they will get a share of the revenues while individual words or very short extracts of press publications are excluded from the draft to be voted on.

"As we approach the end of this European Parliament’s mandate, MEPs bear a huge responsibility to secure the future of the free press. A vote in favour of the Trilogue text in plenary will be a vote for the future of Europe’s diverse, independent press. A vote against the text will be a vote in favour of a future world seen only through the lens of powerful internet monoliths”

The alliance says, “There will be no censorship of the Internet or of upload platforms. Instead, platforms ought to conclude licence agreements on content uploaded by users, which should authorise user actions and provide legal certainty.”

The alliance source added, “This proposal has already been scrutinised, amended and approved by five parliamentary committees, the plenary voted in its favour by an overwhelming majority back in September 2018 and the agreement has now been endorsed by member states and the JURI committee.”

“Even though major provisions of the directive have been weakened in the final trilogue agreement, in particular as regards Article 11 and incidentally Article 13, the cultural and creative sector, representing authors, composers, writers, journalists, photographers and others working in all artistic fields, news agencies, book and music publishers, audiovisual and independent music producers, welcome this agreement, as it still ensures a fair exchange of value between publishers, producers and creators and those who have been using their content for their own commercial gain.”

“The press publisher’s Right in Article 11, as agreed in Trilogue, represents a tool that would modernise copyright with a proportionate approach that does not stifle digital innovation. Meanwhile, Article 13 does not censor the internet but rather introduces legal certainty for all users.”

The spokesman added, “As we approach the end of this European Parliament’s mandate, MEPs bear a huge responsibility to secure the future of the free press. A vote in favour of the Trilogue text in plenary will be a vote for the future of Europe’s diverse, independent press. A vote against the text will be a vote in favour of a future world seen only through the lens of powerful internet monoliths.”

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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