NAA: Copyright Protection Vital For Papers
The Newspaper Association of America, represented by general counsel Kurt Wimmer, Tuesday testified before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet during a hearing on copyright law and “The Scope of Fair Use.” The hearing was part of a months-long review of the Copyright Act.
“Newspapers invest in the journalism that is essential to a well-informed citizenry and a free and democratic society,” the NAA said in a statement. “Newspaper content is protected by copyright law and is more popular than ever in the digital age, as 65% of American adults read newspaper content in a typical week or access newspaper content on a mobile device in a typical month.”
In its testimony, the association stressed the importance of copyright protection for news operations. “Effective copyright protection is essential to funding the professional newsgathering and reporting that permits the newspaper industry to continue to serve the American public,” the testimony says.
The NAA says it is vital that copyright protection remains strong as more readers use digital platforms to bring value back to the creators of original content, as opposed to companies that improperly profit from the investments made by newspapers. The trade group says it strongly believes that those in the digital ecosystem, particularly startups, would prefer to license content instead of relying on legally questionable business models.
“Licensing news content permits the funding of high-quality journalism and content production, which is in the long-term interests of all members of the digital marketplace and society at large,” the testimony says.
The NAA says the scope of fair use should remain unchanged, adding that the courts, not Congress, are the appropriate venue for resolving disputes over fair use. It cited last year’s Associated Press vs. Meltwater U.S. Holdings, Inc., in which the court ruled that Meltwater violated the AP’s copyright because it failed to license content and acted as a substitute news service by indexing articles and delivering verbatim excerpts to paying subscribers.
The NAA says newspapers must be able to profit from the distribution of their content through fair and mutually beneficial agreements.
“We seek to inform audiences as broadly as possible about the communities in which they live, their nation and the world,” the testimony says. “In the digital environment, we will seek the appropriate balance of enforcement, licensing and deploying our own new platforms to achieve this goal.”
The complete written testimony can be found here.