WRITTEN QUESTION by Othmar Karas (PPE‑DE) to the Commission (18 February 2008, E-0816/08)
Protection of the intellectual property of written or spoken word journalism in the print media, the Internet, and radio and television broadcasts
The pictures taken by photojournalists are protected under the EU Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC(1)) and are unreservedly recognised as their work. In addition, there is a legal requirement for photojournalists’ names to be indicated with their pictures.
Is the Commission considering in principle a modification to the Copyright Directive? If so, when? Can it be assumed that a proposal for modification of the Copyright Directive would introduce protection of the intellectual property of written or spoken word journalists? Could such journalists be de facto recognised as authors? Are efforts being made to harmonise the different legal systems in Continental Europe (droit d’auteur) and the Anglo-Saxon area (copyright) and to place all media, in particular new media, on an equal footing with the old media (print, film, photography, fine art, radio and television) where copyright is concerned? If so, what would be the consequences?
McCreevy finds the term of protection sufficient and ignores the call for the controversial broadcast protection
Answer given by Mr McCreevy
on behalf of the Commission
The EU Directive on the term of protection provides that photographs enjoy copyright protection. Since the 1886 Berne Convention this has naturally also applied to written and spoken word journalism. Given the protection of photographs under European copyright law, their term of protection runs for the life of the photographer plus 70 years. Lifetime plus 70 years is the highest possible level of protection and exceeds the level set by the Berne Convention by 20 years. In view of this distinctive and internationally unique level of protection, the Commission does not consider it necessary in this case to amend the Directive on the term of protection.