Copyright Reform

European Parliament copyright rapporteur has finalised draft opinion

A draft opin­ion by the main rap­por­teur on the Com­mis­sion’s new copy­right pro­posal pre­sents sig­nif­i­cant amend­ments. The draft sug­gests novel so­lu­tions and may rep­re­sent a much war­ranted bridge be­tween oth­er­wise po­larised in­ter­ests.

– On Tues­day, Ms. Therese Co­mo­dini Cachia, a mem­ber of the Eu­ro­pean Par­lia­ment and main rap­por­teur for the Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion’s new copy­right pro­posal fi­nalised her draft opin­ion on the pro­posal. The draft pro­posal was first leaked by Politico.

The much dis­cussed ar­ti­cle 11 of the pro­posal that in­tro­duces a new press pub­lish­ers right re­mains in the draft but with a sig­nif­i­cant mod­i­fi­ca­tion: rather than cre­at­ing a new press pub­lish­ers right, Ms. Co­mo­dini Cachia pro­poses to give press pub­lish­ers “a pre­sump­tion of rep­re­sen­ta­tion of au­thors […] and the le­gal ca­pac­ity to sue in their own name”. The pro­posal thus strikes a work­able bal­ance be­tween the Com­mis­sion’s pro­posal and that of the IMCO com­mit­tee rap­por­teur, by cir­cum­vent­ing the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of a new right and at the same time ad­dresses the main con­cerns of press pub­lish­ers.

An­other sig­nif­i­cant change is the re­moval of the “re­search or­gan­i­sa­tions” lim­i­ta­tion for text and data min­ing, as pro­posed by the Com­mis­sion, to a much broader ex­cep­tion for any “per­son who has law­ful ac­cess to works and other sub­ject mat­ter pro­vided that re­pro­duc­tion or ex­trac­tion is used for the sole pur­pose of text and data min­ing”. The change is akin to a much-cited mantra in stake­holder dis­cus­sions: a right to read, is a right to mine. Ad­di­tion­ally, a new ar­ti­cle 3(1a) in­tro­duces an “oblig­a­tion on righthold­ers who mar­ket works or other sub­ject mat­ter pri­mar­ily for re­search pur­poses to pro­vide re­search or­gan­i­sa­tions not hav­ing law­ful ac­cess to those works or other sub­ject mat­ter with datasets that en­able them to carry out text and data min­ing”.

The draft also pro­poses to in­clude “pub­lic ser­vice broad­caster[s]” in the de­f­i­n­i­tion of cul­tural her­itage in­sti­tu­tions, to main­tain “con­sis­tency in the de­f­i­n­i­tion of these in­sti­tu­tions” vis-a-vis ex­ist­ing di­rec­tives as “is needed for le­gal cer­tainty”.

With re­gards to the Com­mis­sion’s ex­cep­tion for il­lus­tra­tion and teach­ing pur­poses, Ms. Co­mo­dini Cachia pro­poses to ex­tend the lim­i­ta­tion be­yond “non-com­mer­cial pur­pose” to a wider “ed­u­ca­tion pur­pose”, as well as not lim­it­ing it to the premises of an ed­u­ca­tional es­tab­lish­ment but rather make it “re­stricted to the specif­i­cally lim­ited cir­cle of those tak­ing part in the teach­ing ac­tiv­ity”.

If the fi­nal ver­sion of Ms. Co­mo­dini Cachi­a's draft cor­re­sponds to the leak, it seems to pre­sent a work­able com­pro­mise for all par­ties in what can oth­er­wise be char­ac­terised as a highly di­vid­ing dis­cus­sion.

European Commission’s proposed new right for press publishers is mired in controversy

The new press pub­lish­ers right in the Com­mis­sion’s pro­posed copy­right di­rec­tive is a rad­i­cal mea­sure aimed at sup­port­ing a news in­dus­try in peril. The pro­posal may how­ever have se­vere un­in­tended con­se­quences.

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