The Congress of Deputies has approved this Thursday with a very large majority the validation of a Royal Omnibus Decree of the Government that adapts eight European directives to Spanish legislation, including the copyright of 2019, a mandate in which the Executive was against the clock after the end of the legal term on June 7. The decree eliminates the obligation for the media to negotiate collectively with the digital platforms that use their content, allowing it to do so directly and individually, a condition required by the technology giant Google to re-enable its Google News news platform. .
A controversial countdown law: the hot potato that Uribes left Iceta with the copyright
The validation has gone ahead in Parliament – with 256 votes in favor, 20 against and 64 abstentions – with the support of the Government parties, the PP and Citizens, and with the abstention of Vox and PNV, although it will be processed as a project of law, a demand raised during the plenary session this Thursday by PNV and EH Bildu, as well as by opposition formations, such as the PP and Ciudadanos. All the groups have agreed, in any case, in criticizing the Government for not having initiated a negotiation on the transposition of directives before taking them to Congress.
During the defense of the initiatives, the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, assured that the transposition of the copyright directive “has a double purpose: to improve secure access on the Internet to content protected by intellectual rights and to guarantee the fair and equitable operation of the copyright market in the digital market “.
Bolaños recalled that the text “establishes by default a licensing system that will be managed individually by publishers, unless they voluntarily choose to do so through collective management entities.” “It is established that the authors of the news can receive a part of that remuneration. This consideration may be freely regulated through the employment contract,” he explained. In addition, he has remarked that “obligations are included” for digital media, such as having to “communicate to readers the changes that occur in the algorithms of content presentation.”
Criticisms of the partners
During the debate, the most critical group has been ERC, which has finally voted ‘no’ to validation. His deputy Pilar Vallugera has considered that in the matter of author’s rights “the technological giants have not been faced with enough energy” and has denounced that the directives “have not been agreed upon”, given that “there has been no prior dialogue.”
For EH Bildu, the directive “as it has reached Congress means leaving authors, journalists and photographers in a situation of total vulnerability.” “Copyright is a social right and not recognizing it on a digital level is a serious step backwards,” said the spokeswoman for the independence party, Mertxe Aizpurua. In his opinion, “talent should be protected and this transposition does not”, considering that the “collective management” of copyright should be “mandatory”. “We advocate the protection of authors’ rights through compulsory collective management”, pointed out, along the same lines, the PNV deputy Josune Gorospe.
“As a liberal party we have always defended the protection and promotion of copyright and the protection of authors,” said, for his part, Citizens deputy Guillermo Díaz, who has supported the validation but also the processing as a project of law. “We have defended that platforms take responsibility for respecting copyrights and the digital world has to be very similar to analog in this sense,” he concluded.
PP and Vox have focused their criticism on how to present this directive as a bill, and have accused the Government of practicing an “authoritarian” and “absolutist” policy.