Feeds

Save journalism, online newspaper publishers beg EC

Demand for better copyright protection

High performance access to file storage

Newspaper publishers have asked the European Commission to look into "improvements" in the copyright protection afforded to newspaper content. Their submission claims that a refusal by the Commission to help could endanger journalism.

Publishers' groups the European Publishers' Council (EPC) and the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) gathered newspaper executives together in June and created and signed what they are calling 'the Hamburg declaration'. They have now presented that to Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding and Internal Markets Commissioner.

The declaration emerged from attempts by publishers in Germany to have copyright law there changed to better protect newspaper publishers.

The Hamburg declaration stops short of calling for new rights but did say that it welcomed "the growing resolve of federal and state governments all over the world to continue to support the protection of the rights of authors, publishers and broadcasters on the internet".

The declaration claims that the business of publishing is no longer secure because of the digital distribution of its works.

"The internet offers immense opportunities to professional journalism – but only if the basis for profitability remains secure throughout the digital channels of distribution. This is currently not the case," it said.

"Numerous providers are using the work of authors, publishers and broadcasters without paying for it. Over the long term, this threatens the production of high-quality content and the existence of independent journalism."

"For this reason, we advocate strongly urgent improvements in the protection of intellectual property on the internet," it said.

The publishers have not specified exactly what improvements they want to the way that intellectual property law deals with newspaper content. The German movement out of which the declaration grew had sought a right which gave them greater control over secondary use of their work.

Newspapers have long published their material online but have failed to generate enough revenue from that activity to offset falling physical sales and advertising. Some have objected to aggregation by the likes of Google's News service, which publishes headlines and snippets of stories and links to newspapers' own sites for the stories themselves.

Publishers in Belgium have won a court victory against Google through their representative body Copiepresse, which successfully argued in a Belgian court that the service's caching of its members' material was copyright infringement.

The two parties later came to a partial compromise that allowed Google to include the newspapers in its search engine but not its news service.

News agency Associated Press announced earlier this year that it would begin to take legal action against any company that republished its works without permission or without sharing revenues.

Newspaper publishers could have their material removed from Google News and other services at a stroke by including on their web pages a small piece of code which would instruct these services to ignore the pages.

Publishers, though, want the attention that Google and other services bring, but also want a greater say in how their material is used. The EPC and WAN have developed a system which they want publishers and aggregators to use to communicate more complex copyright terms and conditions.

Called Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP), it is designed as an alternative to the long-established signals which simply tell search engines to scan a site or not scan it.

"We continue to attract ever greater audiences for our content but, unlike in the print or TV business models, we are not the ones making the money out of our content. This is unsustainable," said Gavin O'Reilly, chief executive of Irish newspaper publisher Independent News and Media and president of WAN. "Publishers failing will benefit no-one, least of all consumers, or indeed the search engines and other aggregators who currently make huge profits on the back of our intellectual property".

"We need search engines to recognize ACAP as a step towards acknowledging that content providers have the right to decide what happens to their content and on what terms," said O'Reilly. "The European Commission and other legislators call on our industry constantly to come up with solutions – here we have one and we call upon the regulators to back it up."

Copyright © 2009, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Nokia offers 'voluntary retirement' to 6,000+ Indian employees
India's 'predictability and stability' cited as mobe-maker's tax payment deadline nears
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68
RIP Blighty's best-selling author of the 1980s
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Analysts: Bright future for smartphones, tablets, wearables
There's plenty of good money to be made if you stay out of the PC market
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.