European Parliament Adopts Reda Copyright Report, Omits Amendments Harmful To Internet, Innovation

BY Heather Greenfield
July 9, 2015

Brussels, BELGIUM — The European Parliament has adopted the “Reda report” on copyright today. The plenary vote comes several weeks after the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee (JURI) adopted MEP Julia Reda’s report and rejected proposed amendments to protect press publishers in ways that would have put the EU out of sync with international copyright rules in other developed economies and harmed both the digital economy and traditional businesses that rely on the Internet.

In addition to passing the report without adding specific ancillary copyright provisions for press publishers, the report approved on Thursday included some provisions that point to the need for greater harmonization of exceptions and limitations to copyright. In contrast to exclusive rights, exceptions and limitations allowing for e.g. parodies and research are not mandatory for Member States. The report also highlights the need for greater flexibility so that future technological progress can more easily be accommodated in the EU’s copyright regime. The European Commission will now look to this language as it drafts its legislative proposal on copyright reform expected at the end of this year.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has advocated balanced copyright policies for more than 40 years. CCIA represents both copyright holders and companies that rely on copyright exceptions and has studied the economic contribution of industries from media to technology that rely on exceptions. The following can be attributed to CCIA Europe Director Jakob Kucharczyk:

“We commend MEP Reda on her hard work on this report. Copyright has again proved to be a contentious issue making compromises difficult to achieve — MEP Reda deserves praise for her determination in steering this through the parliamentary process. The report is the beginning of an ongoing debate signaling to the European Commission which aspects of substantive copyright law merit reform.”

“Importantly, last-minute amendments granting support for an ancillary copyright for press publishers were voted down by the Parliament. After the committee vote, this was the second attempt to insert ancillary copyright language into this report, but the rejection by the European Parliament makes it clear that there is no political support for abusing copyright as an industrial policy measure. The problem with ancillary copyright rules is they create a business climate that favors incumbent companies in both press publishing and the digital economy — as only the biggest players have the infrastructure to deal with such rules. In addition, they reduce media plurality and consumer choice. That fact that these laws miserably failed in both Germany and Spain must have cautioned MEPs against committing the same mistake.”

“The report also discusses the need for greater flexibility and harmonization in European copyright law which is key in the context of the Commission’s attempt to build a genuine digital single market. We are optimistic that these issues will feature prominently in further discussions on copyright reform, trade or policies to promote economic growth. At the same time we regret that the report questions intermediary liability protections. Key provisions of the E-Commerce Directive should be beyond the scope of a report on substantive copyright law. Intermediary liability protections will continue to be the backbone of a strong digital economy.”

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