With European Parliament elections approaching, the heat is on if the European Union’s Copyright Directive is going to be adopted before the end of the current term. 2018 was full of twists and turns and it looks like 2019 will continue in the same vein.
The three European Union institutions (Commission, Parliament and Council) are now trying to negotiate a final agreement and the same two contentious items continue to dominate discussions. These are of course, the press publishers’ related right (affectionately known as Article 11 and put forward as a way of strengthening press publishers in negotiations with news aggregation platforms) and the value gap (affectionately known as Article 13 and put forward as a way of strengthening creators in enforcing their rights when their works appear on online platforms benefiting from safe harbour exceptions).
There had been hopes that an agreement would be reached at a meeting on Monday 12 January but that was cancelled just the Friday before as a number of countries couldn’t reach an agreement on a compromise around these articles. Much of the coverage of the delay called this a win for Big Tech which will be happy to run down the clock.
With January coming to an end and no news on progress forthcoming, the German Publishers Association published a statement calling for a copyright framework that ensures that artists and rightholders are remunerated fairly for their work.
With discussions ongoing, Google has been ‘testing’ the implications of the Directive on certain users in Europe. The test involved limiting Google news results to remove titles and photos with European press publisher organisations quick to call the trials scaremongering.