Europe Uncategorized

With the publication of the Commission’s white paper on Copyright due out in July, CEO members of the European Publishers Council (EPC) on 18th June presented to Commissioner Michel Barnier their “Copyright Vision” including specific recommendations that are designed to help realise the full potential of the media and publishing ecosystem to the benefit of creators and every internet user.


To support rapid market developments and consumer demands, the EPC’s vision combines three digital elements: the technical infrastructure, specific parts of the legislative framework to be adapted in line with digital media developments, and innovative practical solutions, based on licensing and clear guidelines to promote transparency.

In particular, the EPC calls on both the European Commission and WIPO to support the work that is underway by the EPC-initiated Linked Content Coalition (LCC). The LCC’s goal is to enable the widest possible access to content based on clear rights information, and the widespread automation of rights trading, whether for commercial or “free use”. The LCC aims to complete the “global identifier network” in which all parties, creations and rights can be identified, using global standards. The creation of a network of authoritative linked data enables the automated discovery of who owns which rights and easier licensing, as well as automated reporting of usage.

Whilst the EPC believes strongly that technology is there to help copyright work efficiently on the web, in certain areas, the law may need to be adapted for media and creative businesses to reach their full potential in the digital environment as follows:

· Legal clarification concerning hyperlinks and licensing terms on the ‘open web’;
· Legal protection for machine-readable rights information;
· Hyperlinking to illegal copies to be treated as an infringement;
· A new limited neighbouring right to stop unlicensed use of snippets;
· Fair browsing.

At the heart of a seamless modern ecosystem practical solutions to resolve specific issues are increasingly important – even more so considering rapid market developments and consumer demands. The EPC suggests a number of solutions to address the most pressing demands:

· Improve the B2C digital experience for consumers and amateur creators;
· Format, platform and rights data interoperability;
· Standard licensing terms for public institutions;
· Government support for the development of non-technical cross industry guidelines on permitted uses for increased transparency;
· Toolbox of solutions for Text and Data Mining supporting researchers.

EPC Chairman and CEO of the Impresa media group in Portugal Francisco Pinto Balsemão said: “Over 100 million newspapers are sold each day in Europe, many via apps and online subscriptions and over 360 million Europeans read magazines regularly. The rich body of Europe’s scientific technical and medical journals is downloadable and searchable while 9 million book titles are published each year, 2.5 million of which are already in digital formats. None of this would have been possible without our stable EU copyright framework. Copyright has been the cornerstone of creativity for more than 300 years; it continues to underpin and reward innovation to this day both off and online. We in the EPC have been working hard in conjunction with the European Commission and other media sector colleagues to develop the necessary technology to make sure that this copyright works on the web, both in the Linked Content Coalition project and the current RDI project[1].

“I invite the European Commission to continue to work with us to deliver a true partnership between copyright and technology, and to support rapid market developments and consumer demands. If the EU takes on board our recommendations and works to create a truly copyright-enabled internet, we can look forward to providing a wide array of entertainment, sport and, above all, the authoritative, quality journalism that underpins democracy and civilised society, for years to come.”

[1] Partly funded by European Union’s ICT Policy Support Programme as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme

The full text of the EPC’s Copyright Vision can be found here:

Linked Content Coalition: