Response to proposed ‘press publication right’

A group of thirty seven professors of Intellectual Property and Information Law, led by Lionel Bently (CIPIL, University of Cambridge), has submitted to the Intellectual Property Office a response to the proposed introduction of a new right on press publications. The so-called ‘press publication right’, as included in Article 11 of the Proposal for a Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, will provide ‘publishers of press publications’ with a 20-years exclusive rights on ‘digital uses’ of such publications.

The proposed right is apparently intended to offer press publishers three benefits: (i) to increase returns on their investments; (ii) to simplify licensing; (iii) to render enforcement easier. The evidence supporting the first proposition, that the new right will increase returns, is speculative, based upon wishful-thinking and is contradicted by experience with similar initiatives in Germany and Spain (which have yielded no licences or payments). As regards (ii) and (iii), the proposal fails to consider alternative strategies to reduce the supposed impediments to licensing and enforcement. As a result, we believe the proposed right is unnecessary, undesirable, would introduce an unacceptable level of uncertainty and be unlikely to achieve anything apart from adding to the complexity and cost of operating in the copyright environment. 

>> Download here the full text of the Response to the introduction of the press publication right