Clare Moody

MEP for the South West and Gibraltar

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Regarding the Commission's proposal on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, striking the right balance for an EU copyright regime fit for all stakeholders is certainly no easy feat. This is why the draftspersons on this file (in their respective committees) are currently meeting as many stakeholders from all types of activities as possible – music, film, broadcasting, platforms, libraries, consumer protection organisations, digital rights groups and so on. This is done to ensure that all voices are heard and that a better balance is struck in the forthcoming EP text compared to what has been presented by the European Commission.

Most concerns focus around Article 11, the so-called "publisher's right" and related recitals 31-35. I believe the reason why the Commission proposed this Article is to provide press publishers with the same set of protection mechanisms which were granted to broadcasters, music and film producers under the original InfoSoc Directive of 2001. This is the explanation we have heard from the Commission so far. Also, according to reassurances from press publishers this proposal will not interfere with reader's access to press online and their ability to link or share articles on their Facebook or Twitter pages. They also claim that hyperlinks will not be covered by the press publishers right unless they are part of a 'communication to the public' which means for commercial gain and benefit of the third party (according to the interpretation we've been provided by the press publishers).

The problem I have with this Article is its ambiguity and the way it is written. Any verbal assurances we may receive from the Commission and the press publishers as to how this Article can be interpreted are simply not good enough. My colleagues on the relevant committees will make sure to make amendments that will make it very clear that linking, sharing, posting snippets and summaries of press articles and so on for non-commercial use should not fall under this Article.

It is of course true that we want to maintain high standards of journalism and we recognise that press publishers carry the responsibility for the content they place online (unlike third parties), but I think the copyright regime is not be the best place where to address the problems which press publishers face in the digital world, such as a failing business model and loss of advertising revenue.

The European Parliament is in early stages of analysing the proposed text. The lead Legal Affairs committee will vote on the draft EP position in summer 2017 with a plenary vote envisaged for early autumn.

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