Update: Cabinet passed Third Proposal for a New Neighboring Right for Press Publishers

In our blog, we have been keeping track of the new neighboring right for press publishers. After staggering in round one and in round two, the amended proposal now knocked out its critics in round three. Did it really?

No. But the third draft of the proposal for a new neighboring right by the German Federal Ministry of Justice now was accepted by the Federal Cabinet’s decision of Wednesday, August 29th. Now it will be passed on to the Bundestag, the German Federal Parliament.

As in the second draft of the proposal, the changes made to the previous draft address only the exemption in (proposed) section 87 g subsection 4 of the German Copyright code. Again they adjust the scope of users press publishers might have a claim for remuneration against if they make publicly available a press product of the publisher. After the second draft limited the amount of users who had to obtain a license to use a press product of a press publisher from everyone using it, unless it was for non-commercial use, to search engine providers only, the third draft now added “commercial providers of services that process content correspondingly” [to commercial providers of search engines]. Meant by this indefinite term are mainly news aggregators which, according to the reasons given by the Federal Ministry of Justice, in the same way systematically use the press publishers’ efforts as search engines do.

The second proposal was widely criticized for being a legal statute unlawfully addressing only a single subject – the Lex Google. The new amendment according to the reasons now intends to widen the circle of addressees to all user as that generate their hits and present their results the way a search engine does. Other users like bloggers, companies from other commercial areas, law-firms and private users are meant to be exempt. Critics doubt that the wording was able to express that intention and fear that it would affect for example automated RSS feeds or tweets by bloggers if they are to be defined as “commercial providers”.

The other matter of criticism we have been reporting about – that the term “press products” or “parts thereof” would even include smallest parts as far as single words – was still not addressed in the third draft of the proposal. It will be exciting to follow the proceedings and see if the Bundestag will adopt the criticism or vote in favor of the press publishers’ demands.

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