New EU copyright laws to ensure fair play for web publishers

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​London, Sep 14 (IANS) In a bid to address the challenges faced by digital news stakeholders, the European Commission on Wednesday unveiled new proposals to protect the copyright of news organisations, web publishers, authors and others.

The proposals aim to make EU laws fit for purpose in a digital environment.

"I want journalists, publishers and authors to be paid fairly for their work, whether it is made in studios or living rooms, whether it is disseminated offline or online, whether it is published via a copying machine or commercially hyperlinked on the web," said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in his "State of the Union" address.

The new directive will give to news publishers the degree of copyright protection that was afforded to authors, performers, the music industry, film-makers and broadcasters in the earlier 2001 directive, the Irish Times reported.

"The commission proposes to introduce a new related right for publishers, similar to the right that already exists under EU law for film producers, record (phonogram) producers and other players in the creative industries like broadcasters," Juncker said.

The new proposals are, however, somewhat disturbing for social media giants like Facebook and Google.

"The Google News service relies wholly on reproducing information gathered, processed and published initially by news organisations, and by Facebook which sees itself as the world's information platform but is also based on information originated by others," the Irish Times said.

Digital technologies are changing the way music, films, TV, radio, books and the press are produced, distributed and accessed.

"New online services such as music streaming, video-on-demand platforms and news aggregators have become very popular, while consumers increasingly expect to access cultural content on the move and across borders," the EU said.

The proposals also impact mobile messaging service WhatsApp and video phone platform Skype as the European Commission has proposed tight privacy and security for these services.

"We propose to equip every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centres of public life by 2020," Juncker added.

The new digital landscape will create opportunities for European creators as long as the rules offer legal certainty and clarity to all players.

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