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Sylvie Fodor: CEPIC – The EU Draft Directive on Copyright – A step in the right direction for the creative industries online

CEPIC have been working hard for the photo agency and library businesses of Europe for longer than most industry associations being an early leader in communicating the voice of  visual content owners through social media and more directly the European Commission. The most vocal person keeping us all in the loop and the industry on the EU radar is PAN friend CEPIC Executive Director Sylvie Fordor who sent us this late last night:


CEPIC_logoThe EU Draft Directive on Copyright
A step in the right direction for the creative industries online

More work is needed to protect image providers effectively

On 14 September 2016 the European Commission published its copyright package including a draft directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market for promoting a “fair and efficient European copyright-based economy”.

CEPIC represents hundreds of picture agencies and hundreds of thousands of photographers. CEPIC’s members have been digitizing visual content from the advent of the Internet. They license the resulting digital asset for all kinds of commercial uses, to newspapers, magazines, advertising, broadcasters, off and on-line, etc.

Images are widely shared online via search engines, social media and other aggregators and have highly contributed to make the Internet the vibrant and engaging place we enjoy today.

However, over the last 10-15 years, inadequate protection of images in the digital space has shifted the value from those who create images to those that provide the platforms for viewing and sharing images.  We have seen, over the last decade how heavy weight social platforms  which have built their success upon the posting and sharing of unlicensed images hide behind safe harbour provisions to avoid fairly compensating rights holders  for the use of their content and shift the liability onto the individual user. These platforms have contributed to fuel the internet with unlicensed content and deprive copyright holders of a stream of revenue.

In order to remedy the imbalance in the value chain and bridge the “Value Gap”, CEPIC made policy recommendations on Framing, Host Provider Privilege and Implied Consent.

Link to CEPIC website (White Paper) (Not all Links are Equal)

Against this background, we are pleased that the issue of the “Value Gap” has been understood and included in the draft directive. We welcome the provisions in the directive to encourage effective licensing agreements between platforms and right holders and the implementation of effective content ID technologies.

More licensing agreements will allow right holders along the value chain to share in the value their images bring to the digital marketplace. The resulting economic growth will spur creation of more diverse and quality content to be available in the internet. Creativity is the best ferment of cultural diversity and freedom of expression.

However, because the liability regime of platforms is left intact and no provision seems to address framing of content which are of main concern for the visual industry, we consider that the draft directive does not protect our sector sufficiently.

With regard to the framing issue, Alfonso Gutierrez, President of CEPIC, says: “The real problem is how we pay authors enough to continue producing content worth to look at. Images are not only stored, they are increasingly being framed to be copied. If we continue allowing images to be framed freely we are depriving authors (and right holders) of income that is needed to continue producing great images. “

In general, we see the proposal as a first step in the right direction. But more work is needed to ensure that Image Providers are fairly compensated and protected online.

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