Authors demand the removal of detrimental article 12 from the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market

The authors’ organizations from several European countries have signed a petition to remove Article 12 from the proposed European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (COM/2016/0593). Article 12 concerns publishers’ right for compensation, and it would enable publishers to demand a share of the compensation for the secondary uses of works.

Article 12 of the DSM Directive is against the principles of copyright: the author of the work is always a natural person, i. e. a human being, and has the right to decide which rights to grant. If passed, the article would severely weaken the livelihood of writers, translators and artists, and restrict their contractual freedom in an unprecedented way.

”As an organization representing writers and translators, it is impossible for us to accept an article that is against the principles of copyright and contractual freedom. Together with several European authors’ and copyright organizations, the signees of this petition, we demand the removal of the Article 12 from the proposed DSM Directive”, states Ms. Virpi Hämeen-Anttila, the Chair of Finnish copyright organization Sanasto.

Article 12 is terminologically unclear, and its effects are in conflict with other articles of the Directive. In practice, the article would be very difficult to implement without massive administrative costs. Instead of improving the conditions of the European digital single market, the passing of Article 12 would cause severe consequences in several countries.

”An efficient European digital single market is a laudable goal, but it cannot be achieved by weakening the position of the author, already the weaker party. The member states of the European Union have a wide array of legislative arrangements and principles for the copyright remunerations, which in their part enable livelihood for authors and the development of national culture. To scrap effective practices, especially in small language areas, would be fatal”, comments LL.M. Anne Salomaa, the Executive Director of Sanasto.

Article 12 is a threat to the authors’ public lending remunerations

Article 12 is a possible threat to the authors’ public lending remunerations. The European umbrella organizations EWC (European Writers’ Council), FEP (Federation of European Publishers), and CEATL (European Council of Literary Translators’ Associations) gave a joint statement on the 28th of September, in which they asked that public lending rights should be excluded from Article 12.

The signees of this petition have a stronger stand on the article.

”The statement made by EWC, FEP and CEATL makes clear that Article 12 should not apply to the public lending remunerations. That is a good start. However, it is not enough because no one knows what exactly are the exceptions and limitations mentioned in the article. Additionally, it is very difficult to predict the future uses of literature and the effects the terminologically unclear Article 12, if passed, would have on those uses”, Salomaa emphasizes.

The Nordic petition became a European one

The petition to remove Article 12, that started in the Nordic countries, has already been signed by organizations from nine countries, including Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Czech Republic, Malta and Faroe Islands.

”We are waiting for more organizations from different European countries to sign the petition in the coming weeks when the word gets around”, says Salomaa.

In Finland, and in addition to Sanasto, the petition has been signed by the Association of Finnish Non-fiction Writers, the Association of Visual Communication Designers in Finland, the Finnish Association of Translators and Interpreters, the Finnish Illustration Association, the Society of Swedish Authors in Finland and the Union of Finnish Writers.

The petition shall be handed to the rapporteur in Bruxelles on the 11th of October

Two of the European Parliament Committees have already given their reports on the DSM Directive. The President of the Council, Estonia, has given its proposal for the Directive in September. The European Parliament Committee of Legal Affairs, JURI, has not given its report yet, but is expected to do so by the end of the year.

On Wednesday, the 11th of October, the Executive Director of Sanasto will hand the petition on behalf of all the signees to the Parliament Member Mr. Axel Voss, who is the Parliament Rapporteur on the DSM Directive.

For more infomation, please contact

Anne Salomaa, Executive Director, Sanasto
anne.salomaa(a)sanasto.fi
t. +358 50 366 6110

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Edited on Oct 23: New signees have joined the petition: Italian Writers’ Federation (Federazione Unitaria Italiana Scrittori) and The Swedish Association of Professional Photographers. The Petition (pdf) is updated, but you might need to refresh your web browser to see the latest version.

Edited on Oct 30: Writers’ Guild of Sweden has joined the petition.

Edited on Nov 2: The Association of Catalan Language Writers and The Maltese Language Academy have joined the petition.

Edited on Nov 6: Writers’ Union of Cyprus, Hellenic Authors’ Society and KLYS – The Swedish Joint Committee for Artistic and Literary Professionals have joined the petition.

Edited on Nov 8: Croatian Literary Translators’ Association and Croatian Writers Society have joined the petition.

Edited on Nov 13: Lithuanian Association of Literary Translators has joined the petition.

Edited on Nov 16: Hungarian Literary Authors’ Collecting Society has joined the petition.

Edited on Nov 21: Slovenian Association of Literary Translators has joined the petition.

Edited on Nov 27: Basque Writers’ Association has joined the petition.

Edited on Nov 28: ACE – Association College of Writers (Spain) has joined the petition.

Edited on Dec 14: Freischreiber – German Association of Freelance Journalists has joined the petition.

Read more

The European Authors’ Petition to Remove Article 12 from the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (pdf)

Article 12 in the proposal for the DSM-directive threatens authors’ and translators’ copyright remunerations