Members of the European Parliament will be voting over the next few months on proposals for a publisher's right which are supported by the News Media Association and European publishers associations.
The proposal is of considerable significance to European publishers and will impact on the future of professional journalism and an independent media.
As part of the controversial EU Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market the European Commission has proposed an ancillary right for publishers that would provide an important enforcement tool against unlicensed use of their valuable online content.
The publisher's right would recognise publishers as rightholders in EU copyright law alongside other neighbouring rightholders in the media and creative industries. This would provide legal certainty for the benefit of press publishers large and small, making it clear that publishers’ content cannot be copied or reused for commercial benefit without their permission.
A coalition of publishing associations in Brussels - NME (which was named today as a key influencer on copyright issues by Politico), EPC, ENPA and EMMA – has launched the Empower Democracy campaign in support of the publisher’s right and is seeking regular press coverage in the national and trade press across Europe to explain the benefits to consumers and society of professional journalism and a pluralistic media, and to impress on legislators what is at stake if an independent press cannot thrive.
The coalition of publisher organisations said: “Those of us lucky enough to enjoy life under a democracy often take press freedom for granted. Yet it is that press freedom and the provision of 24/7 news, entertainment, sports, political enquiry and investigative journalism that underpins our democracy.
"Press publishers are doing something that is essential to protect. Breaking news or in-depth investigative reports, sports coverage or feature writing is not just popular to read and share across social media, but expensive and risky to produce.”
Five reasons to support a publisher’s right:
- A free and independent press is the cornerstone of our democracy: the publisher’s right will go a long way to securing the future of a free press;
- More security and investment for professional journalism;
- Publishers will be empowered to negotiate business terms for use of their content, independent of the size of their company;
- More content will be available as publishers will have the necessary tools to secure revenue for their valuable content;
- Readers will benefit from a large variety of content on all kinds of platforms, which they can continue to link to and share with friends and family, encouraged by publishers.