from the how-low-can-you-go? dept
Here on Techdirt, we have been following with a certain bemusement attempts by a number of European governments to bring in laws that would grant newspaper and magazine owners a special "ancillary" copyright over snippets -- actually a thinly-disguised attempt to tax Google. Despite the miserable failure of this ploy, Austria has decided it wants to join the club, as reported here by the Initiative Against Ancillary Copyright site:
The Austrian proposal is very similar to the German law. Producers of "newspapers and magazines" shall be granted an exclusive right only against commercial providers of search engines and news aggregators. As in Germany, this right is also supposed to only last for one year. But there remains one big difference: The draft does not include an exception for "single words and shortest text-snippets" which expands the scope of the right tremendously!
That's something of an understatement.
Assuming Austria goes ahead and brings in this change (it's currently a draft amendment to the country's copyright law), it will surely learn the hard way that it doesn't help publishers. What's more worrying is that there is an amendment (number 204 - pdf) to the proposed revision of the EU copyright directive, that seeks to bring in this crazy idea across all 28 member states:
Notes that the current legal framework provides for neighbouring rights for performers, phonogram producers, film producers and broadcasting companies, but not for press publishers; calls on the Commission, therefore, to analyse whether neighbouring rights for press publishers can provide appropriate protection and remuneration for their work in a digital media world;
There's an important vote on Tuesday that will determine whether that amendment is adopted, along with some of the hundreds of others that have been proposed. Let's hope that the European politicians bear in mind how badly the idea has turned out every time it has been tried before.