European Journalist Organization Expresses Opposition to Article 11

The few proponents of Article 11 say it will help creators. Now, journalists are stepping forward and saying otherwise.

Article 11 (aka the link tax) would require aggregators to pay license fees for the privilege of linking to content. This regardless of whether or not the publisher wants to demand such a license fee in the first place. The few proponents that exist of this proposal argue that creators, namely journalists, would benefit from this because it would “level the playing field”.

So, it’s not too far fetched to ask journalists how they feel about this proposed legislation. It seems that journalists are voicing an opinion on this law and they say that they are opposed to it because it would benefit big publishers while reducing income to the people who actually report the news. They go even further by calling the law a “mockery” of journalists’ authors’ rights. From the European Federations of Journalists:

The International and the European Federations of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) consider this part of the directive an achievement for authors overall, but also highlight the grave risk that journalists will be deprived entirely of all their authors’ rights through the introduction of the so-called “protection of press publications concerning online uses”.

While the directive acknowledges an obligation for journalists and all authors of the works incorporated in a press publication to receive an “appropriate share” of the revenues press publishers receive for the use of their publications online, it enables publishers to avoid such requirements by relying on existing “contractual arrangements” and “laws on ownership”.

Such moves could deny journalists any revenue arising from the re-use of their work online.

These discriminatory provisions and proposals contained in Article 11 and Recital 35 of the text dash any hopes that the Directive would support authors in the press sector in obtaining fair and proportionate remuneration for their work under this law or in future national legislation.

Instead they boost the system whereby powerful publishers force employed journalists and freelancers alike to sign contracts giving up all their rights – thereby offering them a proportionate or appropriate share of nothing.

This certainly weakens the argument that this copyright directive is supposed to benefit creators. Here, we see creators actively opposing the legislation, saying that it only benefits organizations while diminishing the creators rights. This isn’t some random person saying this, this is coming straight from the horses mouth.

Obviously, the law is going to continue to go ahead to the next vote, but it is clear that actual creators are not on side with this law. With that additional reduction in social license to move forward with this law, it only stands to reason that opposition is only going to continue to grow.

(Via TechDirt)

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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