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Will the Draft Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market resist the temptation to introduce a new neighbouring right to publishers?

di Alberto Maria Gambino* e Valeria Falce**

The publication of a Draft Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market is expected by today.

It is not easy to anticipate its content, not even in connection to a new neighbouring right to publishers, which has been strongly supported by the publishing industry.

In their stand, the introduction of such sui generis right will entitle publishers to control the circulation and earn revenues for every kind of reuse of digital copyrighted contents, thus ensuring their participation to the copyright value chain.

IAIC believes that, if introduced, such ancillary copyright could result in harmful and unsolicited consequences under a systemic viewpoint for at least the following three different and intertwined reasons.

First, reinforcing neighbouring rights in favour of publishers implies costs, that, if not strictly justifiable, are excessive and disproportionate, leading to an unacceptable reduction of the amount of information available to the public and generating negative effects not only on the publication market, but also on related areas.

Second, introducing further limitations to the use of digital content would affect the dissemination of digital content on the web, restricting the freedom to inform and of being informed, and more broadly jeopardizing the educational and cultural progress.

Third, such regulation could also unfavorably impact the market, as has been the case in other sectors. In the music industry, for instance, similar measures have proven to be ineffective, resulting in 1) higher costs to identify and manage the removal request; 2) time consuming legal actions for obtaining the darkening of unauthorized links.

Last but not least, this new right could damage the entire news chain and further upset the relationship between authors and publishers, with relevant consequences on the final price to detriment of consumers.

In conclusion, in order to preserve and guarantee fundamental rights in the data driven economy, EU shall resist to the temptation to introduce such new neighbouring right.

*Professor of Private Law, European University of Rome – President of Italian Academy of the Internet Code (Iaic)

**Professor of Economics Law, European University of Rome – Founding member of Italian Academy of The Internet Code (Iaic)



14 settembre 2016

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