© Reform: Over 100 MEPs Call for Deletion of Article 11
On 7 June, over 100 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), from different political groups, addressed an open letter to MEP Axel Voss (EPP, Germany), the lead Rapporteur on the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market for the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee, to:
- express their concerns about the negative impact the press publishers’ right would have on access to news and information; and,
- urge MEP Voss to delete the press publishers’ right proposed under Article 11 in favour of “alternative, less invasive, and more proportionate solution to support quality journalism and freedom of the press in the digital age”.
This letter, a cross-political group initiative led by MEP Marietje Schaake (ALDE, Netherlands) and supported by the European Parliament’s Digital Agenda Intergroup, is a strong reaction to what Glyn Moody earlier described on CopyBuzz.com as the “reckless hijacking of the legislative process by certain parties“, when he explained how Article 11 will not delivered the promised ‘benefits’ for EU journalists, as some big publishers, such as Axel Springer, are more interested in abusing the rhetoric of ‘sustaining’ newspapers in their fight against US Internet giants.
In the letter the signatories point out that this proposed right has been:
- overwhelmingly opposed: by consumer groups, small publishers, civil society and the business community. Not mentioned in the letter, but also strongly opposed, are the journalists themselves, see for example the statement by the French national syndicate for journalists or the position of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
- shot down: by over 200 European copyright legal and academic experts arguing that it:
- “would likely impede the free flow of information that is of vital importance to democracy”
- “would be likely to harm journalists”
- “exacerbate[s] existing power asymmetries in media markets that already suffer from worrying levels of concentration in many Member States.”
- questioned: by a an independent study [PDF] conducted for the European Parliament’s JURI Committee (our full story on it), which noted that it’s “doubtful that the proposed right will do much to secure a sustainable press” (p. 37) and who consider that “the evidence does not support a new right” (p. 40); and,
- rejected: by several MEPs, who tabled amendments calling for the deletion of Article 11, or suggesting to replace it with “a less invasive, more proportionate legal solution to the historical challenges faced by European publishers, journalists and freelancers”.
Read more on VoxScientia.eu about how Article 11 would impact the future of knowledge.