Open letter to the European Commission on ancillary copyright

Marietje
On December 17, Marietje Schaake sent a letter on copyright reform, specifically on ancillary copyright, to European Commission President Juncker, Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Oettinger. The letter (pdf) was initiated by the Digital Agenda Intergroup and was signed by more than eighty Members of the European Parliament from six different political groups.
Update: on February 12, a response letter by Vice-President of The European Commission, Mr Ansip, was received. Please find the letter (pdf) further below.

(December 17, 2015)

Dear President Juncker, Dear Vice-President Ansip, Dear Commissioner Oettinger,

We are writing to you as MEPs who are deeply concerned about the Commission’s Communication “Towards a modern, more European copyright framework” and its chapter 4 with regards to the definition of rights of “communication to the public” and of “making available”.

While the Communication is taking great care in remaining non-committal in nature and open-ended towards the results, both the setting and supplementing references in chapter 4 are directly and unequivocally pointing towards the first steps towards the introduction of an ancillary copyright for the benefit of press publishers. The European Parliament has on many occasions positioned itself against the introduction of such an ancillary copyright. We urge the Commission to remain focused on a reform of copyright rules that strengthens the European Digital Single Market, fosters creativity and research while being aware of the dangers of undermining the foundations of one of the greatest revolutions in Information Technology.

Contrary to the suggestions in the Communication, there is no ambiguity in the interpretation of EU copyright rules with regards to content that is both legal in nature and freely accessible on the Internet. Sufficient clarity has been achieved with the judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the Svensson case.

While any specific legislative measure will be dealt with by the proper EU institutions in due time, we kindly advise the Commission to take into account the Parliament’s rejection of the notion of ancillary copyright and to clarify the direction of the planned examination.

Yours sincerely,

Vicky Ford (ECR) Julia Reda (Greens/EFA) Marietje Schaake (ALDE) Josef Weidenholzer (S&D) (Digital Agenda Intergroup Steering Committee)

Co-signatories

Isabella Adinolfi (EFDD) Jan Philipp Albrecht (Greens/EFA) Max Andersson (Greens/EFA) Petras Auštrevičius (ALDE) Brando Benifei (S&D) Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE) David Borrelli (EFDD) Klaus Buchner (Greens/EFA) Reinhard Bütikofer (Greens/EFA) Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL) Dita Charanzová (ALDE) Miriam Dalli (S&D) Daniel Dalton (ECR) Fabio De Masi (GUE/NGL) Pascal Durand (Greens/EFA) Stefan Eck (GUE/NGL) Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA) Cornelia Ernst (GUE/NGL) Fredrick Federley (ALDE) Laura Ferrara (EFDD) Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (ALDE) Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D) Sven Giegold (Greens/EFA) Antanas Guoga (ALDE) Thomas Händel (GUE/NGL) Rebecca Harms (Greens/EFA) Martin Häusling (Greens/EFA) Heidi Hautala (Greens/EFA) Maria Heubuch (Greens/EFA) Benedek Jávor (Greens/EFA) Iosu Juaristi Abaunz (GUE/NGL) Kaja Kallas (ALDE) Petra Kammerevert (S&D) Ska Keller (Greens/EFA) Jeppe Kofod (S&D) Kateřina Konečná (GUE/NGL) Dietmar Köster (S&D) Merja Kyllönen (GUE/NGL) Philippe Lamberts (Greens/EFA) Marju Lauristin (S&D) Andrew Lewer (ECR) Sabine Lösing (GUE/NGL) Ulrike Lunacek (Greens/EFA) Curzio Maltese (GUE/NGL) Jiří Maštálka (GUE/NGL) António Marinho e Pinto (ALDE) Emma McClarkin (ECR) Martina Michels (GUE/NGL) Alessia Mosca (S&D) Victor Negrescu (S&D) Miroslav Poche (S&D) Jozo Radoš (ALDE) Evelyn Regner (S&D) Michel Reimon (Greens/EFA) Terry Reintke (Greens/EFA) Michèle Rivasi (Greens/EFA) Bronis Ropė (Greens/EFA) Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA) Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL) Molly Scott Cato (Greens/EFA) Jordi Sebastià (Greens/EFA) Davor Škrlec (Greens/EFA) Alyn Smith (Greens/EFA) Igor Šoltes (Greens/EFA) Martin Sonneborn (NI) Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL) Bart Staes (Greens/EFA) Catherine Stihler (S&D) Dario Tamburrano (EFDD) Indrek Tarand (Greens/EFA) Josep-Maria Terricabras (Greens/EFA) Estefanía Torres Martínez (GUE/NGL) Helga Trüpel (Greens/EFA) Claude Turmes (Greens/EFA) Ernest Urtasun (Greens/EFA) Bodil Valero (Greens/EFA) Monika Vana (Greens/EFA) Sophie in ‘t Veld (ALDE) Cecilia Wikström (ALDE) Gabriele Zimmer (GUE/NGL)
(February 12, 2016) Mrs Vicky Ford Mrs Julia Reda Mrs Marietje Schaake Mr Josef Weidenholzer European Parliament Rue Wiertz 60 1047 Brussels Reform of copyright law in the European Union Dear Honourable Members of the European Parliament, Thank you for your letter of 17 December to President Juncker concerning the copyright modernisation. In its Communication "Towards a modern, more European copyright framework" of 9 December 2015, the Commission has set out political objectives, areas of action with concrete measures as well as the timeline for the next steps of the copyright modernisation. In particular, the Commission's aims are to allow a better circulation of content, create more legal certainty regarding specific uses such as scientific research and education, offer more choice to Europeans, strengthen cultural diversity and provide more opportunities for the creative sector. With regard to Section 4 "Achieving a well-functioning marketplace for copyright" that you mention, it is the intention of the Commission to assess whether the benefits of the online use of copyright protected works is fairly shared. The Commission continues dialogue in a transparent way with all stakeholders, including press publishers and news aggregators. Let me stress that no decisions have been taken yet in this context. We will in particular consider the results of the public consultation on platforms and online intermediaries. The Commission is closely following the discussions in the European Parliament concerning the copyright modernisation, including on the so-called ancillary right for press publishers, and will take them into account in our current work. Finally, let me thank you for the discussions in the past year in which I had the opportunity to learn about your and your colleagues' views on copyright. I would be delighted to continue this constructive dialogue further. Yours sincerely, Andrus Ansip
See also: 09-12-2015 MEP: cross-border access to online music and films essential for a European digital single market 05-03-2014 MEP: High time for modern European copyright laws copyright