Government should consult with publishers on EU copyright law waiver, says report

Government should consult with publishers on EU copyright law waiver, says report

Publishers should be given a waiver on part of the EU’s recently passed Digital Single Market Directive regarding licensing deals for links to their content, a new report recommends.

The Quality Control report, which examines “reading, publishing and the modern attention economy” suggests the government should consult with publishers over Article 11 of the new copyright law.

Article 11 covers a so-called “link tax”, allowing publishers to negotiate with news platforms and search engines over licensing deals for linking to their material.

Produced by thinktank Demos and supported by the Publishers Association, the report argues publishers should be in control of their own rights.

The report recommends: "The government should consult with the publishing industry on a potential publishers’ waiver on Article 11 of the Digital Single Market Directive. The objective should be to put publishers themselves in control of their own rights, so that they can pass on their licence to publish if they choose, but be compensated by tech companies, as Article 11 recommends, if they prefer."

In an echo of the PA's Axe the Reading Tax campaign, it is also recommended that the government should ditch VAT on e-books, audiobooks, digital newspapers, journals and other online publications.

A further recommendation states Arts Council England should spend more on literature and the government should encourage it to do so. It should also ensure the UK retains its membership of Creative Europe, with funding access, after Brexit.

Other recommendations include the establishment of a voluntary “citizen editors” training scheme, developed in partnership with the publishing industry, to help social media moderators more effectively manage potentially damaging content.

Dan Conway, director of external affairs at the PA, said: “In a world where ‘fake news’ and ‘fake science’ pollute our information sources and society is struggling to arm itself with the right tools to decipher what can and can’t be trusted, the publishing industry’s products and skillsets have never been more topical and should be urgently preserved. Publishers care deeply about the authenticity and appropriateness of the content we commission, produce and bring to market. We will continue to work tirelessly as an association to ensure that the new government promotes measures to support this.”