Chapter 14: The press publishers’ right in the European Union: an overreaching proposal and the future of news online
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The proposed press publishers' right aims to provide news publishers with an additional layer of copyright protection. Following a number of controversial national initiatives, such as the German and Spanish laws on news aggregators (the so-called ‘Google tax’), it aspires to offer a solution to the so-called ‘newspaper crisis’. However, the proposed right is not an appropriate measure for addressing declining revenues in the press publishing sector in Europe. There is no hard evidence that the right can achieve its stated objectives, notably to facilitate rights clearance and enforcement in the press publishing industry, and its scope and duration are excessive. The protectable subject matter is defined more broadly than what the Commission seems to intend, and the right is designed to cover a number of digital activities beyond hyperlinking, such as scanning, indexing, posting snippets, certain forms of text mining, and headlines embedding links. This could have the effect of affording protection to information rather than original subject matter, possibly resulting in a monopolisation of information that goes against the principles of copyright protection.

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