Euro publishers push for copyright status-quo

<p>The Federation of European Publishers (FEP) has opened a petition calling for the European Parliament to maintain current European copyright law. The petition has also been posted on the website of the French Publishers Association (Syndicat National de l&rsquo;Edition, SNE) and has been signed by 88 publishers, including representatives from Hachette, Eyrolles, and Vuibert.</p><p>Publishers are worried that the parliament will weaken copyright protection during its debate on a report on copyright in the European Union (EU) by Spanish socialist MEP Manuel Medina Ortega.<br /><br />The report, which is scheduled to go before a vote on 12th March, deals with the application of the European directive that will partially harmonise copyright and other rights. It has been approved by the Parliament&rsquo;s legal affairs committee and is supposed to be the Parliament&rsquo;s response to the Commission&rsquo;s green paper on copyright in the knowledge economy. <br /><br />The SNE has no objection to the text as it stands, because it notes &quot;the importance of copyright, opposes a revision of the directive, promotes the right against piracy, cooperation with internet service providers and a reduced VAT rate for digital services&quot;.<br /><br />But the French association fears that MEPs might demand a revision of the directive that could &quot;lead to a widening of the copyright exemptions&quot;. The French are particularly worried because of a proposed amendment to a bill now before parliament that would extend copyright exemption for libraries.<br /><br />The European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA) has sent a letter to MEPs urging them to vote against the Medina Ortega report, opening up the possibilities of extending the &quot;exceptions to copyright&quot;. In a letter, the EBLIDA said: &quot;It considers the report to be unbalanced, and fails to address the key issues related to making work available to the public via libraries in the digital environment.&quot;</p>