Working paper Open Access
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 contrary to international obligations (such as Art.10(1) BC) and inconsistent with CJEU doctrine concluding that 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 plays in a democratic society, and specially on the internet, any copyright rule affecting news must be carefully balanced. An exclusive right to control (authorize, prohibit or license in exclusive) the linking of press contents online may have negative effects for the competition in the market and for the development of the information society altogether and fail to achieve its purpose. Nothing suggests that a related right is going to achieve anything different from what has been achieved through the authors’ rights in press-publications. 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! Copyright should not be (mis)used to secure fair remuneration for the value of information; these are two different assets.