On January 5, the News Media Alliance filed additional comments with the U.S. Copyright Office with regards to their Publishers’ Protections Study. The comments responded to arguments made by other parties in the initial round of comments and during the Office’s public roundtable, in addition to building on the Alliance’s initial comments and making additional recommendations for the Office’s consideration. The initial comments were due in November 2021, while the roundtable took place on December 9, 2021. The Alliance’s additional comments reiterated the urgency for action and urged the Office to analyze how the existing protections and exclusive rights available to American publishers relate to those available to European publishers under the EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, and if the existing exceptions, limitations, and defenses are being read and applied too broadly. The comments also rebutted various arguments made by other commenters, including that the use of news content by online aggregators is fair use or not infringing in the first place. The comments also noted that the balance between news publishers and the platforms is askew, posing an existential risk for high-quality journalism. In order to further improve the sustainability of high-quality journalism, the comments included four additional recommendations for the Office to consider: amending the Copyright Office’s policies and documents regarding the copyrightability of “words and short phrases”, clarifying the law around substantial takings and systematic use of news content, studying the need for sui generis protections for news publishers, and studying the need for further guidance or congressional action with regards to the use of news content for artificial intelligence applications. The Copyright Office is conducting the study following a request by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and other Senators and is expected to issue a report later this year. Read the Alliance’s full additional comments here.
Members of the News/Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.