22. February 2017
As already anticipated in an evaluation of the EU Consultation regarding “the Role of Publishers in the Copyright Value Chain and on the “Panorama Exception””, the Proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market includes a chapter on rights in press publications.
Looking at the efforts to create a Union-wide press publisher right from a German perspective, it is disappointing that the EU legislator attempts to take the existing but flawed German legal framework as a starting point and is about to add some more confusion to copyright in the online context.
Germany is, besides Spain, the only country in the EU which already provides for an ancillary copyright for press publishers in the digital context. Yet the law has led to results which are quite the opposite of what the legislator intended. The consequences are particularly obvious with regard to Google’s news aggregator service. In Germany, the vast majority of press publishers agreed to their publications being indexed in Google News without a fee, and in Spain, Google shut down Google News completely rather than attempt to comply with the new law.