EU Copyright Vote Reaction Round-up

Publishers associations from around the world welcomed the European Parliament’s copyright vote on 12 September 2018.

The vote, which took place at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, adopted a new text on copyright reform by a strong majority of 438 votes in favour, 226 against and 39 abstentions. A previous draft text had been rejected in July following an unprecedented number of questionable automated sent messages to MEPs from platforms seeking to undermine copyright. These messages, ostensibly from grassroots movements were revealed to be, in fact, linked to big tech operators.

The text now enters a process known as the trilogue – a negotiation between the European Commission, Parliament and Council. Lobbying efforts are sure to continue until final adoption and many points remain contentious, particularly regarding exceptions for educational uses. With European Parliament elections next year, there will be pressure to adopt a final text in early 2019.

Michiel Kolman, IPA President who was in Strasbourg for the vote said: This vote recognises the value of Europe’s creative industries. Technology companies and platforms are part of how creative works are distributed but this vote reinforces the underlying principle of copyright that creators and publishers deserve fair financial reward for their work.

Other reactions from publishers’ associations included:

Federation of European Publishers

Today our MEPs made a historical decision to support culture, innovation, access to knowledge and creativity which are at the heart of the European Union. FEP welcomes the decision and wishes to especially thank the Rapporteur, Mr. Axel Voss, who supported fair solutions for all stakeholders. We look forward to this positive outcome leading to a successful trilogue. Europe’s publishers will then work tirelessly to ensure that people across the EU continue to be free to write, publish, read and benefit from the best possible books and journals.

Rudy Vanschoonbeek, President of the Federation of European Publishers, said directly after the vote, while in Strasbourg for a meeting and an event in the European Parliament: Publishers are pragmatic entrepreneurs and this piece of legislation –Copyright in the Digital Single market- clarifies some aspects of copyright which would affect our readers/users (teachers, students, librarians), making it clearer on what is allowed or not. These were asked from these communities and as we do at national level, we understand their needs and address them either individually or through our collective societies. The provisions in the text as adopted by the Parliament result from compromises. For authors and publishers and for readers/users, the sustainability of the books and journals’ ecosystem is paramount. The new rules must reflect this delicate balance and we are hopeful that the inter-institutional will respect this equilibrium.

AAP (USA)


The directive would require internet platforms to work together with copyright owners like never before,’ said Maria A Pallante, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers. ‘It would stop websites from hosting and profiting from user uploaded copyrighted content without seeking permission or providing compensation to copyright owners. This is a powerful step forward in promoting platform accountability and respecting the value of copyrighted works.'

Börsenverein (Germany)

By voting in favour of the new measures, the European Parliament has paved the way for sustainable copyright law in Europe. The decision is an important step for authors and their publishers as well as for the entire creative sector. It also brings book publishers one step closer to the re-introduction of a publisher share in CMO revenues. Particularly small publishers have been facing significant threats to their businesses over the past several years. An acceptable compromise was also reached regarding the planned exception for education. It is now decisive that the next stage in the legislative process – the Trilogue – move ahead swiftly and constructively so that the directive can be adopted during the current legislative period,’ says Peter Kraus vom Cleff, commercial director of Rowohlt Verlag, member of the Börsenverein Publishing Committee and Vice President of the Federation of European Publishers.

SNE (France)

The European Parliament has voted in favour of copyright reform. With this vote, an essential step has been taken for the protection of creators and cultural diversity. The SNE, together with European publishers, thanks all the MEPs who, by their vote, will guarantee publishers and authors of books, a fair share of the value during the exploitation of their works.

A new stage is now opening with the discussions in trilogue (Commission, Council, Parliament). The SNE remains mobilized so that the definitive text frames the exceptions, in particular education, to support the publishing of a variety of books that meet the quality expectations of readers.

The Publishers Association (UK)

Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive at the Publishers Association, said: The progress made today is a good thing for publishing and the wider creative industries, but there are still a number of further steps to go down before this becomes law. We’ve seen through the powerful lobbying efforts of some very large tech firms just how little regard they hold for intellectual property, and ensuring that creators and rightsholders are rewarded fairly for their endeavour. We should be pleased with today, but cautious about where they take the fight to next as it’s certainly not over.

AIE (Italy)

A great victory for freedom. Copyright is central and with today’s vote its function has been affirmed. Today is a victory for freedom, as an expression of free democratic debate and personal creativity. This is copyright: it represents freedom and expresses the European identity’ commented the President of the Italian Association of Publishers (AIE) Ricardo Franco Levi immediately after the vote.
We are really satisfied - he continued - because with today’s vote we have established a fundamental principle, namely that copyright should be updated to digital but retaining the function of freedom and contrast of the monopolies. Of course, the approved text presents some aspects that need to be improved before final approval. We are ready to make our contribution, as we have always done.
It is however positive - he concluded - that the three European institutions involved in the formation of laws, the Commission, the Council and the Parliament, go in the same direction and that the pressure of the multinational lobbies has not had any effect on the voting of MEPs. It is a good premise for the final result to be a text that encourages authors and cultural companies to always seek new contractual solutions to the problems that digital requires.

The International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM)

We welcome the adoption of the European Parliament’s Report on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (DSM) […]. Modernising copyright law throughout the union in a fair and balanced manner is necessary and the European Parliament has taken a big step today towards that goal.

STM and its members fully support the exception which allows non-commercial research organisations to text and data mine their high-quality scientific publications at no additional cost. Clarifying platforms’ responsibility so that no regulatory frameworks are bypassed because of the digital nature of their activities and finding a fair solution for newspaper publishers enabling them to negotiate contracts for the value they add with giant tech companies and search engines are all necessary ingredients of this reform.

STM thanks the rapporteur Axel Voss and all MEPs for their support in achieving a balanced outcome. This will form a solid base for the upcoming trialogue discussions.

STM and its members remain ready and eager to work with all parties during the Trialogue and with all interested partners and stakeholders wishing to modernise EU copyright law for a culturally and technologically promising future.

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