20 March 2019

Please contact your Members of the European Parliament via social media urging them simply to adopt the Directive (with any possible improvements) using the hashtag #Yes2Copyright. You can find details of your MEP here. You could link to Manifesto for an open and fair internet too.

Copyright battle heats up in Brussels

THE BATTLE over the European Union's plan to strengthen copyright in some ways is, of course, heating up. The NUJ issued a statement saying the Directive "makes a mockery of journalists' authors' rights" after late and unclear changes cast doubt on which journalists could get a share of any income newspapers get from the likes of Google News (see www.bit.ly/2SUIMsf).

17 March 2019

THE Internatonal Federation of Journalists snd the European Federation of Journalists have issued a joint statement urging members of the European Parliament to adopt the "Copyright Directive and any possible improvements".

The statement notes that since the Directive was first introduced "both journalists' federations have worked jointly and tirelessly, supporting the proposal and working to improve it. The federations continue to seek improvements and clarifications in the lead up to the crunch vote on its adoption this month." Thanks in part to that work, it "includes important provisions for the creative and media industries and for authors. It offers the publishing industry and journalists a share of the revenue their work generates online (Article 11), introduces the principle of appropriate and proportionate remuneration for authors (Article -14), key transparency obligations, alternative dispute mechanisms and the possibility for authors to be represented by their unions (Articles 14-16).

The statement notes that "serious concerns remain over the risk that journalists in some EU Member States may be entirely deprived of their share of the revenue through buy-out contracts whereby authors are forced to abandon all rights and entitlements (Recital 35), lump sums and other abusive measures which the current text of the Directive fails to tackle." A "recital" to a Directive is a part of a preamble that guides the courts in iterpreting the actual legal text in the future. The actual law proposed in Article 11(4a) is:

Member States shall provide that the authors of the works incorporated in a press publication receive an appropriate share of the revenues that press publishers receive for the use of their press publications by information society service providers.

The IFJ/EFJ statement notes that as a response to concerns about the references in Recital 35 to this being "without prejudice to Member States' laws on ownership or exercise of rights in the context of employment contracts", the European Commission - the EU's civil service - provided the following answers:

  • Journalists will not only benefit from the new right granted to press publishers, but also from the new provisions on the fair remuneration of authors and performers;
  • According to the new rules, journalists will have to receive an appropriate share of the revenues generated by the new publishers' right;
  • The Directive makes sure that every journalist will benefit from protection in his or her contractual relationship with publishers across Europe.

Work continues in discussion with publishers' organisations on guidelines for the implementation of the Directive in EU member states to ensure that this happens.

  • Come back for more updates...