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CREATe Public Lecture: Press publisher rights in the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market


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As part of CREATE’s Public Lecture Series, Professor Raquel Xalabarder, Chair of Intellectual Property, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya discussed the press publisher rights in the proposed Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market. This lecture took place at the University of Glasgow on November 2nd, 2016 and picks up on themes introduced during the inaugural CREATe Public Lecture on Copyright Reform in a Brexit environment  provided by Professor Martin Kretschmer, University of Glasgow.

Raquel Xalabarder



Click here to download the CREATe Working Paper of Professor Raquel Xalabarder’s public lecture.

After several failed national attempts (notably in Germany and Spain) to secure remuneration for press publishers for the licensing of press contents by aggregation services and search engines, the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market grants press publishers an exclusive related right that would allow them to license (or prohibit) digital uses of their press publications for a period of 20 years. This proposal completely upsets the delicate (and necessary) balance between the protection of copyright and the non-protection of information. It is potentially contrary to international obligations (such as Art.10(1) of the Berne Convention that permits free press summaries) and inconsistent with CJEU doctrine concluding that linking to contents freely available online does not qualify as an act of communication to the public (Svensson, Bestwater, C-More Entertainment, GS Media). Because of the fundamental role that news and information play in a democratic society, and especially on the internet, any copyright rule affecting news must be carefully balanced. An exclusive right to control (authorize, prohibit or exclusively license) press contents online may have negative effects for competition in the market and for the development of the information society. As proposed, it also fails to achieve its (misguided) purpose to secure fair remuneration for the value of information, and will likely have detrimental effects for authors. If we want to “ensure quality journalism and citizen’s access to information” a related right for press publishers is not the way to go!

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Related Resources

Response to Article 11 of the Proposal for a Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, entitled ‘Protection of press publications concerning digital uses’ on behalf of thirty seven professors and leading scholars of Intellectual Property, Information Law and Digital Economy and led by Professor Lionel Bently, Co-Director of CIPIL, University of Cambridge (5 December 2016)

Opinion of the CEIPI on the European Commission’s copyright reform proposal, with a focus on the introduction of neighbouring rights for press publishers in EU law (December 2016)

The European Commission’s public consultation on the role of publishers in the copyright value chain: A response by the European Copyright Society, European Intellectual Property Review [E.I.P.R.] 36(10): 591-595 (September 2016)