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Adequate online copyright essential for success of Digital Europe, say Europe's publishers

20 May 2023

The European Publishers Council (EPC) has welcomed the focus on management and enforcement of online copyright and the tackling of piracy, key priorities amongst a raft of proposals in the European Commission’s ambitious “Digital Agenda” strategy published this week.

EPC Chairman, Francisco Pinto Balsemão said: “How we manage copyright is absolutely key as to whether or not we will fulfil the enormous potential that the internet and digital technologies offer. This is essential for the future of not only a free press, but a viable and profitable publishing industry as a whole that upholds our unique economic, cultural and social contributions to the future of our digital Europe. Commissioner Kroes’ Digital Agenda strategy is an excellent work plan but, as with any legislative proposal, the devil will be in the detail.”

The objective being largely to improve access, usage and trust of the internet for consumers, the strategy cites actions from eliminating regulatory barriers, guaranteeing the provision of faster internet access to enhancing digital literacy and reviewing the EU data protection regulatory framework to improve citizens’ rights and confidence.

EPC Executive Director Angela Mills Wade makes the point: “With much of the emphasis on the consumer in this paper, we will be calling on all the legislators involved with the Digital Agenda to recognise that what we urgently need is business-friendly mechanisms to support online copyright ensuring that all rightsholders are encouraged to innovate and invest in content. The EU can best meet its objective of universal access to the internet through a rich and diverse range of content that appeals to Europe’s citizens. To this end we call on the Commission to respect freedom of choice in licensing solutions, including automated systems of licensing, through technological innovation. We need the freedom to develop our licensing solutions to give business users and consumers access to our products and services across a wide range of digital platforms and devices, respecting the principle of authorised use. In this way we can build a fair and competitive market place.”

The EPC looks forward to its continued dialogue and collaboration with all those working on the details of the strategy, especially in the areas dealing with the issue of online copyright to:

  • adapt tried and tested existing solutions for copyright rather than running the risk of introducing inappropriate and untested measures that could threaten established creative businesses;
  • fight against piracy of copyright content and ensure full implementation of the EU Enforcement Directive;
  • preserve publishers’ freedom to choose licensing solutions;
  • encourage the development of technological solutions for rights management such as ACAP (www.the-acap.org <http://www.the-acap.org> );
  • resist the move to extend mandatory exceptions to copyright

For further information, or for a copy of the Commission document, please contact Angela Mills Wade on Tel: +44 1865 310 732 or Heidi Lambert on Tel: +44 1245 476 265