Article 11 continues to divide opinions of platforms and press publishers

14 January 2018

Article 11 has continued to divide opinions this month, following two prominent calls of support from press publishers. On 9 January, Christian Van Thillo (chairman of the European Publishers Council) opined that article 11 should be introduced without the exceptions agreed upon during the latest trilogue negotiations (including an exception for the use of insubstantial parts and for text and data mining purposes). These exceptions, according to Van Thillo, are “Big Tech-promoting loopholes” which will “legitimise the very predatory practices it was designed to end”. Similarly, on 11 January, the News Media Alliance (NMA, a trade associating including, amongst other publications, the New York Times) responded to Google’s warning that article 11 would reduce the availability and variety of content online. The NMA claim by contrast that “[s]upporting a strong publishers’ right is the best way to ensure you can continue to find [that content]”.

In response to these claims (and particularly those by Van Thillo), Vice-President of Google News, Richard Gringas, has continued to maintain that article 11 will have “unintended consequences”. More specifically, Gringas points to the objections of smaller publishers who have raised concerns regarding how the new right will cause barriers to entry and put restrictions on innovative business models for new companies. Instead, they suggest that article 11 should include provisions which allow publishers to electively waive the requirement for a commercial licence for their content, and thus “continuing to be able to make their own choices about how their content can be discovered and how they want to make money with that content”.