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Axel Voss’s amendments to Copyright DSM on 12 September

The increasing imbalance between powerful platforms and press publishers, which can also be news agencies, has already led to a remarkable regression of the media landscape on a regional level. In the transition from print to digital, publishers and news agencies of press publications are facing problems in licensing the online use of their publications and recouping their investments. In the absence of recognition of publishers of press publications as right holders, licensing and enforcement in the digital environment is often complex and inefficient.

It is necessary for Member States to provide at Union level legal protection for press publications in the Union for digital uses. Such protection should be effectively guaranteed through the introduction, in Union law, of rights related to copyright for the reproduction and making available to the public of press publications in respect of digital uses in order to obtain fair and proportionate remuneration for such uses. Private uses should be excluded from this reference. In addition, the listing in a search engine should not be considered as fair and proportionate remuneration.

The protection shall also not extend to factual information which is reported in journalistic articles from a press publication and will therefore not prevent anyone from reporting such factual information. Authors whose work is incorporated in a press publication shall be entitled to an appropriate share of the new additional revenues press publishers receive for the secondary use of their press publications by information society service providers in respect to the rights provided for in Article 11 paragraph 1.

Online services are means of providing wider access to cultural and creative works and offer great opportunities for cultural and creative industries to develop new business models. However, although they allow for diversity and ease of access to content, they also generate challenges when copyright protected content is uploaded without prior authorisation from rightholders. Certain information society services, as part of their normal use, are designed to give access to the public to copyright protected content or other subject-matter uploaded by their users.

The definition of an online content sharing service provider under this Directive shall cover information society service providers one of the main purposes of which is to store and give access to the public or to stream significant amounts of copyright protected content uploaded / made available by its users and that optimise content and promotes for profit making purposes, including amongst others displaying, tagging, curating, sequencing the uploaded works or other subject-matter, irrespective of the means used therefor, and therefore act in an active way. As a consequence, they cannot benefit from the liability exemption provided for in Article 14 of Directive 2000/31/EC.

The definition of online content sharing service providers under this Directive does not cover microenterprises and small sized enterprises within the meaning of Title I of the Annex to Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC and service providers that act in a non-commercial purpose capacity such as online encyclopaedia, and providers of online services where the content is uploaded with the authorisation of all right holders concerned, such as educational or scientific repositories.

Providers of cloud services for individual use which do not provide direct access to the public, open source software developing platforms, and online market places whose main activity is online retail of physical goods, should not be considered online content sharing service providers within the meaning of this Directive.

Online content sharing service providers perform an act of communication to the public and therefore are responsible for their content and should therefore conclude fair and appropriate licensing agreements with rightholders. Where licensing agreements are concluded, they should also cover, to the same extent and scope, the liability of users when they are acting in a non-commercial capacity. In accordance with Article 11(2a) the responsibility of online content sharing providers pursuant to Article 13 does not extend to acts of hyperlinking with respect to press publications.

Member States should provide that where right holders do not wish to conclude licensing agreements, online content sharing service providers and right holders should cooperate in good faith in order to ensure that unauthorised protected works or other subject matter, are not available on their services. Cooperation between online content service providers and right holders should not lead to preventing the availability of noninfringing works or other protected subject matter, including those covered by an exception or limitation to copyright.

As soon as possible after the entry into force of this Directive, the Commission and the Members States should organize dialogues between stakeholders to harmonise and to define best practices. They should issue guidance to ensure the functioning of licensing agreements and on cooperation between online content sharing service providers and right holders for the use of their works or other subject matter within the meaning of this Directive. When defining best practices, special account should be taken of fundamental rights, the use of exceptions and limitations. Special focus should also be given to ensuring that the burden on SMEs remain appropriate and that automated blocking of content is avoided.