A total of 166 European publishers have signed the “Hamburg Declaration” / Mathias Döpfner: “Important step in the interest of the global Internet community”
Today, the European Publishers Council (EPC), to which Axel Springer AG belongs, has presented the “Hamburg Declaration to Protect Intellectual Property Rights” to the European Commission. Viviane Reding as Commissioner for Information Society and Media and Charlie McCreevy as Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services took over the landmark document representative for the commission.
Already before, the publishers organized in the EPC as well as the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) have adopted the “Hamburg Declaration” to protect intellectual property rights at a joint congress in Berlin on June 26, 2009. The meeting took place in the headquarters of Axel Springer AG.
Francisco Pinto Balsemão, President of the EPC and CEO of the Portuguese media group Impresa, signed the declaration for the 27 members of the EPC. For the over 3.000 publisher organizations and media companies from more than 120 countries united in the WAN-IFRA, signed Gavin O’Reilly, President of WAN-IFRA and CEO of the Irish media corporation Independent News and Media.
Among the latest signatories are Frederic Aurand (Groupe Hersant, France), Francisco Balsemão (Impresa, Portugal), Carlo de Benedetti (Editoriale L’Espresso, Italy), Carl-Johan Bonnier (Bonnier, Sweden), Oscar Bronner (Der Standard, Austria), Bernd Buchholz (Gruner + Jahr, Germany), Hubert Burda (Burda Media, Germany), Mathias Döpfner (Axel Springer AG, Germany), Hanzade Dogan (Milliyet, Turkey), Stefan von Holtzbrinck (Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, Germany), Patrick Morley (Telegraaf Media Group, Netherlands), James Murdoch (News Corporation, Europe and Asia), Horst Pirker (Styria, Austria), Didier Quillot (Lagadére, France), Gavin O’Reilly (Independent News and Media, Ireland), Michael Ringier (Ringier, Switzerland), The Viscount Rothermere (Daily Mail and General Trust, Great Britain), Ian Smith (Reed Elsevier, Great Britain/ Netherlands), Hannu Syrjanen (Sanoma, Finland), Robert Thomson (Dow Jones and Wall Street Journal), Giorgio Valerio (RCS Quotidiani, Italy) und Christian Van Thillo (de Persgroep, Belgium).
148 German publishers have already adopted the Declaration that was presented on June 8, 2009 in Hamburg by six local publishers. With the signatures ot the EPC and the WAN-IFRA, the “Hamburg Declaration” has now – after its local start and its national enlargement within the German borders – evolved to an important international initiative.
Dr. Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer AG, said: “I am happy about this international declaration of publishers. This is an important step in the interest of the global Internet community. The Internet is not our enemy but rather the future of journalism, if intellectual property is respected in the digital world as well. In front of all I see two main goals: We want a fair share of the revenues, which are already being generated through the commercial exploitation of our content by others, as well as the development of a market for paid content in the digital world. We are confident that the representatives of search engines and other aggregators will join us in realizing and opening up the opportunities of the market for legitimate paid content in the Internet.”
WAN-IFRA president Gavin O’Reilly said: “We continue to attract ever greater audiences for our content but, unlike in the print or TV business models, we are not the ones making the money out of our content. This is unsustainable. Publishers failing will benefit no-one, least of all consumers, or indeed the search engines and other aggregators who currently make huge profits on the back of our intellectual property.”
EPC president Francisco Pinto Balsamão said: “A fundamental safeguard of democratic society is a free, diverse and independent press. Without control over our intellectual property rights, the future of quality journalism is at stake and with it our ability to provide our consumers with quality and varied information, education and entertainment on the many platforms they enjoy. In this declaration we call on governments worldwide to support the copyright of authors, publishers and broadcasters on the net.”