Copyright Office Releases Its Report on Ancillary Copyrights for News Publishers

On June 30, the U.S. Copyright Office published its long-awaited report on Copyright Protections for Press Publishers. The report, requested by a bipartisan group of Senators led by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), surveys existing protections for online news content and evaluates whether there is a need for new ancillary copyright protections for news publishers, similar to those adopted by the European Union in 2019. Article 15 of the EU’s Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market requires member states to create new protections for news publishers to protect their content online in order to harmonize laws across the Union. The Copyright Office’s report does not recommend creating similar protections in the United States as the U.S. copyright law already provides considerable protections to news content. The report states that various commenters noted that the problem is mainly related to the lack of bargaining power against the dominant online platforms, hindering publishers’ ability to enforce their copyrights. The report highlights the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act as a potential competition-based solution but, as questions of competition law and policy are outside the Copyright Office’s remit, the report declines to take a stance on these issues. The report also notes that the Office is considering how to best address the inability of news publishers to register dynamic web content. Read the full report here.

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