Copyright reform: EU must protect its cultural sector - not sell it off

Written by Jean-Marie Cavada on 26 March 2018 in Opinion

Parliament must send an unambiguous message and propose a clear and balanced text on copyright, says Jean-Marie Cavada.

Jean-Marie Cavada | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual

Over the last 10 years, the online proliferation of cultural content has increased the importance of not only of this content, but also of the platforms that make it accessible. Intermediaries, through their influence and dominance, have become the main gateway to free online content. This clear finding must form part of the proposal for a copyright directive.

Naturally, the text must be adapted to reflect digital progress, but this should not be to the detriment of the creative sector and the cultural industry. Parliament must send an unambiguous message by proposing a clear and balanced text.

As part of our ongoing negotiations, compromises on copyright exceptions in the digital market are about to come to fruition, particularly on educational content.


However, it is important not to extend the scope of the exceptions. Discussions are ongoing on an exception for text and data mining, and we will need to remain vigilant. This technique is very useful in the field of research, but we must ensure it is prohibited for commercial purposes.

Compromises on Articles 14 and 16 are under preparation. These two articles should quickly find a favourable outcome, knowing that the obligation of transparency in the contracts already exists. This obligation must be effective, but remain proportionate and prevent the communication of sensitive and commercial information that goes beyond the objective of the text.

As for the proposal to resort to voluntary extra-judicial settlement procedures in the case of disputes over the obligation of transparency, it is clear that mediation is still the preferred solution.

Negotiations on Article 13 and the transfer of value have just started and much work remains to be done.

I maintain that making licenses compulsory without adding effective preventive technical measures does not permit the other provisions of the directive to apply with certainty.

If this is not taken into account, past licenses will be worth no more than the paper on which they will be written. This is the only condition that will ensure the sustainability of Europe’s cultural sector.

This article is essential because it must make it possible to identify protected works and to ensure fair remuneration for creators. I will refuse to take the easy option by reducing the scope of the implementation of the value gap.

On the other hand, we have no proposal from the rapporteur, Axel Voss, on a possible compromise for Article 11.

We should create a neighbouring right for press publishers to protect their investments, particularly in the digital realm. This neighbouring right must confer a genuine and exclusive right, which is essential for concluding contracts.

It is also important for the rightsholders to benefit from the protection against counterfeiting as specified in directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, in order to allow possible legal actions. This neighbouring right will rebalance the current situation, where aggregators profit from journalistic content without authorisation or remuneration for the press publishers.

I am heavily invested in this directive and know it will have a direct impact on the future of our European culture, which provides the foundation of our political systems. Europe does not have a digital industry pipeline, but it does hold an oil; the wealth, including financial, of content that our countries produce. We must protect them, not sell them off.


About the author

Jean-Marie Cavada (FR) is Parliament’s ALDE group shadow rapporteur on copyright in the digital single market

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