Proposals to Directive on copyright in DSM – presumption for publishers of press publications

A free and pluralist press is essential to ensure quality journalism and citizens’ access to information. It provides a fundamental contribution to public debate and the proper functioning of a democratic society. The sustainability of the press publishing industry should therefore be ensured.

In the transition from print to digital, publishers of press publications are increasingly facing problems in licensing the online use of their publications and recouping their investments. Press publications contain mostly literary works but increasingly include other types of works and subject-matter, notably photographs and videos.

Due to the large number of authors and rightholders involved in the creation of a press publication, licensing and enforcement of the rights in press publications are often complex and inefficient in the digital environment. Publishers may notably face difficulties when proving that they have been transferred or licensed the rights in such works and other subject-matter for the purposes of concluding licences or enforcing the rights in respect of their press publications.

Publishers of press publications need to acquire all the relevant economic rights from the authors and rightholders to incorporate their works or other subject-matter in a press publication. This principle should continue to apply. However, without prejudice to contractual arrangements concluded between the publishers of press publications, on the one side, and the authors and other rightholders, on the other side, the licensing and enforcement of the rights acquired vis-à-vis third parties should be facilitated.

It is therefore necessary to provide at Union level a rebuttable presumption to allow the publisher to be regarded as the person entitled to conclude licences on and enforce the rights of reproduction and making available to the public concerning the digital use of works and other subject-matter contained in the press publication provided that the name of the publisher appears on the publication.

For the purposes of this Directive, it is necessary to define the concept of press publication in a way that embraces only journalistic publications, published in any media, including on paper, in the context of an economic activity which constitutes a provision of services under EU law. The press publications to be covered are those whose purpose is to inform the general public and which are periodically or regularly updated.

Such publications would include, for instance, daily newspapers, weekly or monthly magazines of general or special interest and news websites. Periodical publications published for scientific or academic purposes, such as scientific journals, should not be covered by the presumption of rights granted to publishers for press publications laid down in this Directive.

The presumption for publishers of press publications laid down in this Directive should not affect the rights of the authors and other rightholders in the works and other subject-matter incorporated therein, including as regards the extent to which authors and other rightholders can exploit their works or other subject-matter independently from the press publication in which they are incorporated. Therefore, publishers of press publications should not be able to invoke the presumption laid down in this Directive against authors and other rightholders or against other authorised users of the same works and other subject-matter.