Friday

30th Jul 2021

Juncker defends authors' rights

Europe should not be like the US, where authors can sell off their intellectual rights, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has pledged.

Speaking at an event in Brussels organised by The Federation of German Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) on Wednesday (6 May), Juncker defended the European Authors’ Right in strong terms.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Juncker revealed himself as a 'news-junkie' addicted to the smell of print (Photo: Surreal Name Given)

'We want to protect European authors' rights and don’t want to be like in the US, where you can sell off your rights. We don't want such a Europe", he said.

More than half of Europeans use the internet, but "there is no way to bypass authors’ rights in this digital revolution", he added.

Speaking on the day that the commission presented its flagship Digital Agenda, Juncker admitted that he is not himself of the digital age.

"I follow some 40 newspapers daily", he said - none of them digital. "I have a sort of erotic relation to news-print, to smell it", he joked.

Getting the balance right between rights holders, consumers, publishers and the digital industry, including big players like Google or Amazon, will be key to the success of the Digital Agenda.

Juncker's speech gave a first hint of how the commission intends to strike the balance, before the bill moves to the European Parliament and the European Council for negotiations.

Creative work is "not a hobby, but a profession", he said, advocating that journalists, creatives and authors should be properly paid for their work.

"We want to provide access to culture and to secure ways to create culture".

To noisy applause from the newspaper publishers assembled in the Bavarian representation in Brussels, Juncker also announced that a planned VAT reform in 2016 will open reduced rates to digital newspapers and books in a move that would bring them into line with print media.

Why should it be more expensive for consumers to read books and news online than in print, he asked? In Britain for example, newspapers pay no VAT, while online services are taxed at 20 percent.

VAT should be “technology-neutral,” Juncker noted.

The Digital Agenda is so far the most complex initiative coming out of the new Juncker commission and has been worked out under the new system of vice-commissioners’ involvement in the process.

As many as 14 commissioners in total contributed to the project, Juncker said, with his vice president for the digital single market, Andrus Ansip, from Estonia leading the process.

"As long as Ansip was in Brussels his wife has not been able to watch Estonian soap-operas due to geo-blocking. That is not normal. Whoever buys a product legally in one country should also be able to use it if they’re in another member state," Juncker said.

EU unveils '€415bn' digital strategy

Its blueprint foresees €415bn/yr in additional growth. But it's not the first time the EU commission has made big promises on the digital market.

What digital barriers do Europeans still face?

"Mom! I did something illegal!" - as the EU gets set to unveil its new strategy on liberalising the digital single market, what online barriers do Europeans still face?

News in Brief

  1. Officials worried at infection-surge on Greek holiday islands
  2. EU calls on online platforms to tackle vaccine hesitancy
  3. Russia accused of falling short on Sputnik V deliveries
  4. France: UK quarantine rules 'discriminatory'
  5. Italy's government reaches deal on judicial reform
  6. EU adopts guidelines to 'climate-proof' infrastructure projects
  7. US backs WHO plan for further Covid-origin investigation
  8. EU to buy 220,000 supplies of potential Covid treatment

Opinion

Brexit: what is the 'Lugano Convention' and does it matter?

After Brexit, the UK ceased to be a member of the Lugano Convention, an international treaty which governs cross-border civil and commercial legal disputes. In May, the European Commission published an opinion calling for the UK's re-application to be rejected.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Malta responsible for journalist's death, inquiry finds
  2. Can Greece work with Biden to solve the West Balkans impasse?
  3. EU and UK frustrated at US travel ban extension
  4. Polish judges rally behind EU court ruling
  5. Why 'Fit for 55' isn't fit for purpose
  6. EU hits vaccination target, as Delta variant now dominates
  7. European arms 'displaced over a million people', research finds
  8. Brexit: what is the 'Lugano Convention' and does it matter?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us