Thursday, May 04, 2017

Hugenholtz on the proposed EU publisher's intellectual property right

Professor Bernt Hugenholtz's 15 minute contribution (starting 3:03:40 into the morning session) at European Copyright - Quo Vadis event at the European University Institute, pointing out the proposed new EU publishing right intended protect news organisations is a fake solution to a very real problem, is well worth viewing.

Prof Hugenholtz recommends his colleague Prof. dr. Mireille M.M. van Eechoud's extremely balanced 65 page report on the issue, A publisher’s intellectual property right: Implications for freedom of expression, authors and open content policies.

Prof van Eechoud has been running a project at IViR, the Institute for Information Law at Amsterdam University, taking a critical look at the proposed introduction of a new intellectual property right for publishers of press publications.

Prof Hugenholtz opens by highlighting the avalanche of negative academic responses to the proposal for the publishing right. It fails the test of being good or making existing regulation better on every count. But he does have some sympathy with the EU officials lumbered with drafting this proposal, most likely under orders from their previous boss, Commissioner Oettinger.

The underlying rationale of finding a way to protect or sustain the news publishing industry which is facing serious decline is a worthy one. That decline constitutes a severe social democratic and economic problem - just witness Trump and fake news amongst the consequences - that academics and others should be investing time and energy in. What truly effective and proportionate means could we come up with to enable sustainable, independent news organisations that challenge and speak truth to power?