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UK authors welcome EC proposals on copyright reform

The European Commission (EC) has released its draft proposals for copyright reform as part of its Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy, reports the Bookseller.

Society of Authors president Philip Pullman has welcomed the proposals, which are designed to ‘create a fairer and sustainable marketplace for creators’ in the digital age, and has called on the UK government to adopt them despite Britain voting to withdraw from the European Union.

Among the proposals is a clause suggesting authors should have the opportunity to renegotiate contracts where remuneration is ‘disproportionately low’ relative to publishers’ revenues. The so-called ‘bestseller clause’ offers a safeguard to authors who are paid a flat fee, irrespective of how many copies their book goes on to sell, which can occur in educational publishing and other areas of the trade.

The Society of Authors has also welcomed the EC’s proposal to provide ‘regular, timely, adequate and sufficient’ information on the ‘exploitation of their works’, including the modes of sale, revenues generated and remuneration due.

Pullman said: ‘I welcome this draft directive, especially for its emphasis on transparency and the bestseller clause. Authors badly need the sort of natural justice that these clauses embody, not least because our work contributes substantially to the wealth of the nation.’

The EC proposals also aim to ‘increase cultural diversity in Europe and content available online, while bringing clearer rules for all online players’. The Federation of European Publishers president Henrique Mota said the EC’s stance in favour of negotiated solutions over broad exceptions was particularly important for the book sector.


Category: International news