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Spanish Newspaper El País Rejects the European Ancillary Copyright for Press Publishers

· March 24, 2017

Any faithful DisCo reader knows how closely we’ve followed the introduction of “ancillary copyright for press publishers” in Germany and Spain (see some previous blogposts here and here) – and its possible introduction in European copyright law (see here).

The debate on an European ancillary copyright for press publishers – now mostly described as “the publisher’s right” – has been raging for at least two years within the European institutions and among European stakeholders. Proponents of this new right have claimed, again and again, that this right had the support of the entire publishing industry across the European Union.

This is not the case. This was already demonstrated last December in an open-letter against the introduction of an European ancillary copyright, signed by many press publishers – including the Spanish Association of Periodical Publications, the Italian Online Publishers Association, El Diario, Golem.de, the European and Les Echos.

Today, however, another strong voice joined them in opposing this new exclusive right: the very well-known Spanish newspaper El Pais. In its op-ed, the newspaper stated clearly that:

“…those who want to turn [copy]rights into a fortress, from which to impose a mandatory and non-waivable tax, are wrong. This is a model whose failure has already been demonstrated in Germany in 2013 and in Spain in 2014. […] Past experiences and current reality demonstrate that a path of cooperation – not confrontation – is  what is necessary between media and technology companies. A path that newspapers like EL PAIS have already started down with Google, through projects like Digital News Initiative and AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), and with Facebook, via its Journalism Project”.  

(translation by your DisCo correspondents)

This is very welcome news, coming from a country with first-hand experience of this right, and at a crucial time for the European Parliament’s negotiations. Another post covering the current state of negotiations on the European copyright reform will follow shortly, but let’s hope in the meantime that more publishers will come to the same conclusion as El Pais – a conclusion supported by many European copyright experts.

European Union

DisCo is dedicated to examining technology and policy at a global scale.  Developments in the European Union play a considerable role in shaping both European and global technology markets.  EU regulations related to copyright, competition, privacy, innovation, and trade all affect the international development of technology and tech markets.