Today the European Commission is launching an open consultation as part of its work to update EU copyright rules for the digital age. It is seeking views on the role of publishers in the copyright value chain, including the possible extension to publishers of the neighbouring rights. Publishers do not currently benefit from neighbouring rights which are similar to copyright but do not reward an authors' original creation (a work). They reward either the performance of a work (e.g. by a musician, a singer, an actor) or an organisational or financial effort (for example by a producer) which may also include a participation in the creative process. The Commission is also consulting on the panorama exception, which concerns the use made of images depicting buildings, sculptures and monuments located permanently in public places.
The Commission wants to hear from everyone interested in the publishing sector and the digital economy such as authors, researchers, publishers, online service providers, readers, internet users and others in the creative industries. The Commission invites all respondents to back up their replies, whenever possible, with market data and other economic evidence. Views expressed and information gathered will help the Commission assess the need for, or prepare initiatives, as part of its efforts to modernise EU copyright rules under the Commission's Digital Single Market strategy. The consultation will run until 15 June 2016
The role of publishers in the copyright value chain and the possible introduction of an EU neighbouring right for publishers
An independent and pluralistic publishing sector is important for our society, cultural diversity and democratic participation. This part of the consultation therefore aims at gathering views as to the challenges (if any) faced by publishers of press and other print products in the digital environment as a result of the current copyright legal framework. It asks about the impact that a possible change in EU law to grant publishers a new neighbouring right would have on them and on the whole publishing value chain. The Commission also wants to gather views as to whether the need (or not) for intervention is different in the press as compared to other publishing sectors and which significance such an intervention would have for the future of the sector. The Commission will take into account the impact that introducing a new neighbouring right for publishers would have on all relevant stakeholders and ensure the coherence of any possible intervention with other EU policies.
Neighbouring rights are rights similar to copyright but that do not reward an authors' original creation (a work). They reward either the performance of a work (e.g. by a musician, a singer, an actor) or an organisational or financial effort (for example by a producer) which may also include participation in the creative process. Current EU copyright law grants neighbouring rights to performers, film producers, record producers and broadcasting organisations. Publishers are not among the neighbouring right holders at European level.
This part of the consultation aims at seeking views as to whether the current legislative framework on the "panorama exception" gives rise to specific problems in the context of the Digital Single Market.
The 'panorama exception' in EU copyright law allows Member States to lay down exceptions or limitations to copyright concerning the use of works, such as works of architecture or sculpture, made to be located permanently in public places (for example uploading images of monuments online).
The Commission's plan for the Digital Single Market (DSM) includes 16 targeted initiatives to create better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe; setting the right conditions for digital networks and innovative services to flourish and maximise the potential of the digital economy. One of these measures is the modernisation of the EU copyright framework, to make rules fit for the digital age. This consultation will contribute to initiatives and decisions made by the Commission to achieve this objective in the course of 2016.