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Communications of the ACM

Legally speaking

Questioning a New Intellectual Property Right for Press Publishers

Monopoly Chance card stating Pay Link Tax

Credit: Alicia Kubista / Andrij Borys Associates

Should European press publishers be granted a new intellectual property (IP) right over online uses of their journalistic contents? These publishers have long had both copyright and sui generis database IP protections for these contents. Yet the European Commission, Council, and Parliament have been convinced that only by granting the new IP right will sustainable quality journalism continue to be produced in the EU. Despite some strong opposition, this proposal seems likely to be adopted and made a mandatory part of EU law.

Sometimes known by its critics as the "link tax" provision, Article 11 of the proposed Directive for the Digital Single Market (DSM) would grant press publishers a new set of exclusive rights to control the reproduction and making available of online journalistic contents by information society service providers. Under the proposed compromise text made public in November 2018, these rights would last for one year.


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