At that stage it may become clearer as to exactly which elements of the regime might better sit with the Commissioner or with the Standards Clerks. The Parliament, including the SPCB given the impact on parliamentary resources, would want to be closely involved in deliberations as to who assumes responsibility for which element of the regime. The broad parameters of the roles for the Commissioner and a registrar, and a possible structure of a compliance process are set out below.
It is based on the principle that organisations should be encouraged, educated and prompted to register by the registrar to provide them with every opportunity to ensure their register entries are up to date. However, where the registrar has been unable to generate compliance through prompts and encouragement, they would refer the matter to the Commissioner for investigation. The system should also allow the Parliament to impose Parliamentary sanctions where the Procurator Fiscal decides that it is not in the public interest to prosecute. There should be a new duty requiring organisations that meet the criteria listed in recommendation to register and to periodically update the register.
There did not appear to be strong momentum in the evidence heard to establish a statutory code of conduct. The British Heart Foundation was strongly opposed to the idea, fearing that this could disrupt interactions between third sector organisations and public officials. The establishment of a new lobbying register, with statutory elements to it, appears the most effective mechanism for improving transparency and, in turn, accountability of those undertaking significant lobbying activity.
A statutory code in addition to this seems an excessive level of regulation in a new system primarily aimed at improving transparency not at increased regulation. A statutory code could also add weight to the incorrect and unhelpful perception that politicians only engage with professional lobbyists.
The Committee considers that there is an argument for providing those who regularly lobby politicians with a non-binding code including guidance that mirrors the rules in the MSP Code of Conduct. This could prove useful in providing advance notice of what forms of approach would or would not be deemed appropriate.
This form of code would not be a prescriptive set of rules so there is no justification for making it binding. A non-statutory approach also reflects the fact that it is ultimately the responsibility of the MSP to decide whether to meet with people seeking to lobby them, and to be familiar with the binding rules of their Code in deciding which offers to accept. The scale of the sanctions available to Parliament if an MSP does not abide by these rules reflects this responsibility. Sanctions span up to the removal of salary, expenses, access to the Parliament building and the withdrawal of all rights and privileges such as participating in parliamentary proceedings.
The Committee recommends that the Parliament should introduce a code of practice for those who lobby that includes advice on expected standards of behaviour. The Committee definitely accepts that the sections on Lobbying and Access to MSPs in Volumes 2 and 3 of the Code require to be brought up to date to reflect that the majority of lobbying activity is now undertaken in-house. However there are certain rules that should continue to relate specifically to those representing third parties. For example 5.
A member may choose to act in response to a commercial lobbyist but it is important that an MSP knows the basis on which the member is being lobbied in order to ensure that any action the member takes complies with the standards set out in this Code. In addition, some of the guidance in Volume 3 of the Code relates specifically to contact with commercial lobbyists and is still current—.
This is particularly important where commercial lobbyists are employed to advise organisations or companies in the presentation of their arguments. The Committee recommends that the Code of Conduct for MSPs should be revised to reflect how lobbying has evolved in recent years, ensuring the rules sufficiently cover contact with in-house lobbyists as well as those lobbying on behalf of third parties. The Committee received numerous representations, including from the Federation of Small Businesses and CBI Scotland, to suggest that the publication of MSP diaries or, more practically, of reports of MSP contact with lobbyists would be preferable to the introduction of a register.
The Scottish Ministers currently publish details of their meetings involving external organisations on a rolling 3-monthly basis, which includes details of the organisation s at a meeting and the subject area discussed. Malcolm Harbour periodically publishes a log detailing his contacts with lobbyists, showing the date, the name of the lobbyist, the company, the client where appropriate and the context. The Committee is recommending a register as opposed to requiring diary publication from MSPs as standard for a number of reasons, not least because the primary onus for disclosing information rests with those doing the lobbying and there is currently nothing provided in a standardised way that records lobbying of MSPs.
Lobbyists are responsible for initiating lobbying activity and MSPs are responsible for deciding what constitutes an appropriate response to it. As stated above, the OECD explains that—. International experience reflects this perspective. There are no examples to be learned from in other countries where the onus for publishing information on lobbying activity rests solely with the politicians. Suggesting MSP diaries would be an alternative approach to a register can give the impression that one is a substitute for another. MSP contact reports and entries in a lobbying register would record very different types of information.
Infrequent meetings with small organisations and charities on single issues would feature in MSP diaries, whereas the thresholds in the register mean it would focus in on significant levels of lobbying activity, in the main by commercial lobbyists and in-house lobbyists for big organisations. The latter is of much more interest to citizens seeking a picture of the potential influence of frequent contact with MSPs or of lobbying work that has a significant financial cost associated with it.
Spinwatch argued that—.
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One benefit of a wider disclosure regime would be that we would have a much broader awareness of what was going on across the entire Parliament and where influence was being brought to bear. Oxfam Scotland, amongst others, felt that whilst contact reports were not a substitute for a register, the publication of information by MSPs could be a useful complementary measure, putting more information into the public domain than a register alone.
However, this cannot be the sole responsibility of the lobbying industry or those seeking to make representations, there must also be transparency from those being lobbied. As highlighted by the then Commissioner, Stuart Allan, should the Commissioner require to investigate a formal complaint on contact with lobbyists, an MSP could be asked for details of this under section 5 of the Code of Conduct.
At present this rule specifically relates to commercial lobbyists. Keeping a record of contact could in practice be as simple as keeping a back catalogue of electronic calendars or hard copy diaries. The Committee reminds MSPs of the need to keep sufficient records which they must provide to the Commissioner on request. The recommendations below are for consideration by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.
The SPCB is in charge of decisions on parliamentary resources and policy. The Committee undertook an audit of sources of information held by the Parliament to ensure that all details held of activity that could reasonably be perceived to involve lobbying are published. This is to be expected since the Parliament has placed an emphasis since its inception on being open in its culture. This is embedded in its processes for deciding what information to make publicly available - the presumption has always been to publish.
The only area the Committee found where there may be some room for improvement related to events held in the Parliament complex. There is no lasting record of the events held provided on the website. Events fall into two categories, those hosted by the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body and those organised by outside organisations and sponsored by a particular MSP. All MSPs are invited to all events held as standard.
Events and exhibitions, whether within or outwith the Parliament, are an increasingly popular means of seeking to inform and influence. ASPA stated—. In acknowledgement of this, there are clear rules on what events can and cannot be held within the Parliament which removes the potential for organisations to be perceived as receiving undue access to MSPs. For example an organisation can only have two events a year and no event can relate to current parliamentary business.
Given the level of access afforded to MSPs by holding an event in the building, and the increasing focus on events as a means of lobbying, the Committee considers that the names of the organisations holding the events and the nature of the events held would be of interest to the public. The Committee recommends that the Parliament should publish more information on events that have been held within the Parliament complex. Specifically, it should publish a record on its website of every event held, the date, the organisation that supported the event and the type of event.
The record should be updated monthly so the information is current when published There is a big difference between just being open and being open and accessible. For published information to be of any worth people need to know it is published and to be able to find it easily. Information is more valuable still if people can easily compile all relevant information of interest to them on a particular topic.
The format of such information depends on what the citizen wants to know. One person might be interested in the lobbying activity of one particular organisation; another might be interested in lobbying activity taking place by lots of organisations on a particular bill; a third might want to know which organisations a particular MSP has engaged with.
There is also value in producing information in a format that allows it to be viewed alongside details of lobbying activity elsewhere. As part of the Digital Democracy movement, the Scottish Government, local authorities and numerous other public bodies are pursuing an open data agenda to make information as usable as possible for the public. Information published by the Parliament should be made more easily accessible to the citizen.
Appendix 1 - Existing checks and balances in Scotland on those lobbying and those being lobbied.
The UK Bribery Act provisions include the crimes of bribery and the failure of a commercial organisation to prevent bribery on its behalf. The penalties for committing a crime under the Act are a maximum of 10 years' imprisonment, along with an unlimited fine, and the potential for the confiscation of property under the Proceeds of Crime Act , as well as the disqualification of directors under the Company Directors Disqualification Act The crime of bribery is described in Section 1 as occurring when a person offers, gives or promises to give a "financial or other advantage" to another individual in exchange for "improperly" performing a "relevant function or activity".
A number of submissions to the inquiry highlighted voluntary codes of conduct. For example, the Association for Scottish Public Affairs ASPA requires its members to agree, as a condition of membership, to abide by a code of conduct which governs their engagement with the Scottish Parliament and Government and its agencies and aims to reflect best practice and professional ethics.
ASPA members may also have to adhere to standards and codes of conduct set within their own organisations or by professional bodies The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator publishes the Scottish Charity Register which details all charities regulated by them in Scotland and provides details of income and activities undertaken by these charities, including campaign and communications work. These require them to adhere to a number of regulations and standards and to publish information to that effect.
Guidance on member-sponsored events in the Parliament place certain restrictions on external organisations including that: events should not include lobbying on parliamentary business under current consideration; no organisation may be sponsored for more than two events in 12 months; and invitations, issued by the sponsoring member, must be issued to all MSPs. The SPCB has a number of published policies that, in part, seek to ensure that the Parliament could not be perceived to be allowing undue access to lobbyists or the promotion of one particular cause over another.
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For example there are restrictions on the use of meeting rooms, the issuing of security passes to external organisations and fundraising for causes other than those formally endorsed by the SPCB. In addition, the Scottish Government Ministerial Code includes provisions on lobbying, such as:. In the first instance, complaints made under the terms of the Ministerial Code are considered by the First Minister. Where a complaint is deemed sufficiently serious, the First Minister may refer matters to a panel of independent advisers who publish a report on the complaint.
The Civil Servants Code sets out broad principles on impartiality, honesty, integrity and objectivity to guide the behaviour of officials. There are no specific rules on contact with lobbyists. The Code of Conduct for Members of the Scottish Parliament sets out rules and guiding principles, many of which are underpinned by legislation, that individuals should follow when acting in their capacities as MSPs.
The Code also details sanctions available for the Parliament to impose where a complaint is upheld against a politician. With some exceptions, the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life for Scotland considers complaints made under the terms of the Code. Under Section 2 of the Code, MSPs are required to register any significant financial interests that could influence, or could be perceived to influence, the manner in which they carry out their work as parliamentarians.
Register entries include details of the organisation providing the goods or services which require to be registered. The decision on whether to prosecute any of these offences is a matter for the Procurator Fiscal. Under Section 3 of the Code registered interests must be declared before an MSP takes part in proceedings of Parliament relating to an interest. That includes written questions and all committee and plenary proceedings.
Section 4 of the Code sets out rules that prohibit paid advocacy. The Bribery Act goes further than this. It does not require an individual to receive inducements in order to commit an offence, but only to agree to receive such inducements. This section is also underpinned by the Scotland Act which makes paid advocacy a criminal offence.
The decision whether to prosecute any of these offences is for the Procurator Fiscal. The Committee has agreed, as part of its upcoming committee bill, to amend the paid advocacy offence in the Scotland Act, and accordingly in the Code, for greater consistency with the Bribery Act Section 5 of the Code sets out rules to guide members in considering what constitutes appropriate contact with lobbyists. Section 6 of the Code provides rules on Cross Party Groups. The Committee has recently reviewed, and as a result strengthened, this section.
In addition minutes and annual returns detailing attendees at meetings and issues discussed must be published. Appendix 2 - Information currently publicly available on lobbying activity. These registers link in with the codes of conduct set out by these organisations. For example the PRCA publishes every quarter a list of all members who practice current affairs and a list of all clients of consultancies that conduct public affairs. As mentioned above, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator publishes the Scottish Charity Register which details all charities regulated by them in Scotland including providing details of income and activities undertaken by these charities, including campaign and communications work.
In addition trade unions, as with many other organisations, actively seek to publicise the extent to which they are lobbying effectively on behalf of their membership. The Scottish Government has adopted the practice of publishing on a monthly basis and 3 months in arrears details of engagements carried out by all Ministers. The publication of ministerial engagements is a requirement of the Scottish Ministerial Code.
The Scottish Government publishes information as standard on stakeholder involvement in policy formulation, for example submissions to consultations, participation event attendance and working group membership. In relation to bills, information on work involving stakeholders, and hyperlinks to all of the detail of this work, is provided as standard in policy documents that accompany legislation. The Scottish Government also maintains a list of special advisers who provide specialist political advice to Ministers. As stated above, MSPs are required to register any significant financial interests that could influence, or could be perceived to influence, the manner in which they carry out their work as parliamentarians.
The requirements to register: gifts; hospitality; benefits in kind; overseas visits; and remuneration from other work are all set out in Section 2 of the Code of Conduct for MSPs, which is based on the provisions in the Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament Act the Act. This includes detailing the name of the organisation providing whatever the MSP is registering for example which organisation has paid the expenses of an MSP undertaking an overseas visit. It should also be noted that all permissible donations for political activity received by politicians that meet certain criteria, including financial thresholds and similarly donations received by political parties and party leaders are registered with the Electoral Commission and are publicly available.
Details of the organisation making the donation are detailed in this published information. There was no suggestion during evidence taking on the inquiry that this could be deemed to be lobbying and therefore the Committee considers this form of work to be exempt from any work to increase the transparency of lobbying activity. This includes formal evidence taking in committee meetings, inviting written evidence including through social media, and undertaking fact-finding visits.
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Details of the role of all contributing stakeholders are detailed in the agenda, the minutes, the substantially verbatim record of proceedings the Official Report of formal meetings and in the notes from fact-finding visits. All organisations and individuals contributing to these briefings are referenced. The reports produced by committees cite organisations that have informed the findings and recommendations.
There is also information published on committee advisers, employed by the Parliament to provide specialist advice. In addition information is available on any external research commissioned by committees. There are details of all petitions and support for them on the Public Petitions Committee website. Finally, all Chamber proceedings, are covered in the Official Report and all written questions and answers and motions lodged are also published. Over 1, organisations and 1, individuals engage with MSPs through these groups. CPGs are open to the public and groups are required, under the Code of Conduct, to publish minutes, lists of attendees at meetings, membership lists including all non-MSP members , and also details of financial and material support in annual returns.
Its activities and membership are available on its website Again, details of its work are available on the website. The Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament both publish logs of FOI requests and information published as a result of these requests. Information released can include information on contact with external organisations and individuals. In the Committee's initial consultation paper "lobbying" was defined as:.
However, the efficacy of this definition emerged as one of the main concerns of respondents to the consultation exercise. In particular, the Committee's working definition of lobbying was criticised as being too narrow. The commercial lobbyists who responded were keen to point out that the vast majority of their members' work is advisory and it is only very rarely that they are asked by clients to act as advocates on their behalf with politicians or officials. Mainly on the basis of this evidence the Committee agreed to revise its working definition of lobbying in relation to commercial lobbyists as follows:.
The commercial lobbyists also emphasised that it is not only public affairs companies who lobby on a commercial basis for third party clients but that many professions such as lawyers, journalists, think tank representatives may seek to influence MSPs and public policy to varying degrees. It is not just public affairs and public relations companies which have multiple clients and lobby. The media's focus on public relations and public affairs consultancies is based on an outdated interpretation of lobbying.
Increasingly, professional services companies - eg law firms, management consultancies and investment and merchant banks - are offering, in house, public affairs advice and advocacy. In respect of mandatory disclosure of Peers' interests, the Committee stated that:. An examination of the Register shows that in almost every case, it is only peers associated with commercial lobbying companies who are actually registered as having financial interests in businesses involved in parliamentary lobbying on behalf of clients.
Yet we heard it argued that this does not accurately reflect the full range of peers who are connected with parliamentary lobbying These include some law, accountancy and management consultancy firms The Committee invited views on its revised definitions in its consultation paper on Statutory Registration of Commercial Lobbyists. Considerable concern was expressed in relation to the workability of the proposed definitions.
The main concerns related to what is meant by "remuneration" and what is meant by "third party". In particular that remuneration could be interpreted to include income from subscriptions or membership fees and that third party could be interpreted to include members in the case of membership organisations. This would mean that many voluntary groups and membership organisations could be covered by the scheme.
However, the Committee had agreed at its meeting on 25 April that it is only "commercial lobbyists" that should be covered by the statutory registration scheme. The Committee had also agreed that the scheme is not intended to cover the voluntary sector, trade associations, representative and membership organisations, interest groups, in-house lobbyists and companies whose sole purpose is the provision of an information service on the work of the Parliament.
The Committee's recommendation in relation to in house lobbyists is discussed in more detail at paragraphs 47 to 49 below. On the basis of this further evidence the Committee agreed at its meeting on 21 November to conflate its previous two working definitions into a single definition of "commercial lobbyists" to be covered by the register. The Committee, therefore, recommends that for the purpose of its proposed registration scheme that "commercial lobbyists" are defined as follows:.
Decision on taking business in private: The Committee agreed to take items 6, 7, 8 and 9 in private. Work programme in private : The Committee considered its work programme and agreed to hold an inquiry into lobbying and to consider a draft remit and call for evidence in private at its next meeting. The Committee also agreed to take evidence from the Ethical Standards Commissioner on his annual report at a future meeting.
Lobbying inquiry in private : The Committee considered a note by the Clerk and agreed its approach to its inquiry. Decision on taking business in private: The Committee agreed to take item 6 in private. Decision on taking business in private: The Committee agreed that its consideration of the evidence heard on its inquiry into lobbying should be taken in private at this meeting and at future meetings. Inquiry into lobbying - witness expenses: The Committee agreed to delegate to the Convener responsibility for arranging for the SPCB to pay, under Rule Inquiry into lobbying: The Committee considered the evidence heard earlier in the meeting.
Inquiry into lobbying in private : The Committee considered the evidence heard earlier in the meeting. Decision on taking business in private: The Committee agreed that its consideration of draft reports on Hybrid Bills and on Standing Order rule changes on EU Rules and the next steps for, and a draft report on, its inquiry into Lobbying should be taken in private at future meetings. Inquiry into lobbying in private : The Committee considered the evidence and agreed to consider a further paper at a future meeting. Decision on taking business in private: The Committee agreed to take items 3 and 4 in private.
Inquiry into lobbying: The Committee considered the next steps on its inquiry. The Committee agreed to consider policy papers and evidence summaries in private at future meetings. The Committee also agreed to hold a chamber debate to gather the views of other MSPs. Inquiry into lobbying in private : The Committee considered a note by the clerk and agreed to consider an evidence summary and further paper in private at future meetings.
Inquiry into lobbying in private : The Committee agreed to defer this item to a future meeting. Inquiry into lobbying in private : The Committee considered an evidence summary on its inquiry and agreed to publish this on the Committee's webpage. Inquiry into lobbying in private : The Committee considered issues for a draft report. Following the evidence taking in Committee, the Committee held a committee debate in the Chamber on its initial findings on Thursday 6 November The purpose of this was to allow other MSPs who are not on the committee to feed in views.
Official Report of the meeting of the Parliament, Thursday 6 November A number of organisations provided word statements prior to the debate and views were sought on Facebook and Twitter using the SPLobbying hashtag in order to get further views from the wider public ahead of the debate. On 18 December the Committee sought to road test an early model of a lobbying register with a selection of stakeholders. Following its call for evidence the following written submissions were received by the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee—.
Any links to external websites in this report were working correctly at the time of publication. However, the Scottish Parliament cannot accept responsibility for content on external websites. It does not cover civil servants or councillors. In the case of the United Kingdom, where there is a culture of discretion and where deals are traditionally done behind closed doors, an element of external compulsion will be needed to provide for meaningful transparency.
Assessing the need for change Accountability at present The case for preventative action Transparency What form of change is necessary? Concerns over inhibiting engagement Willingness to register information Designing a register Registration fee The inclusion of details of lobbying activity Who needs to register - thresholds for registration and exemptions Criteria for registration - significant time or money is spent on lobbying activities Recommendations on who needs to register What needs to be registered and when?
Conforming to the requirements of a register Sanctions How could the compliance system operate? Other measures to complement a register Code of Practice for lobbyists Revisions to the Code of Conduct for MSPs Disclosure of more information by the Parliament Events Accessible information Appendix 1 - Existing checks and balances in Scotland on those lobbying and those being lobbied Appendix 2 - Information currently publicly available on lobbying activity Appendix 3 - Extract of the Standards Committee report entitled Report on Lobbying Annexe A: Extract from minutes Annexe B: Oral evidence and associated written evidence Annexe C: Other written evidence Remit and membership Remit: 1.
Standing Orders of the Scottish Parliament, Rule 6. Designing a Register Recommendation 1 — There should be an online register of significant lobbying activity in Scotland. Recommendation 5 — Registering, and updating the register, should be free. Recommendation 11 — The Committee has heard from organisations who are very keen to publicise their work so the new register could— allow organisations that are not required to register under recommendation 8 to register on a voluntary basis; allow organisations to update their register more regularly than the required timescales; and allow organisations to detail more information than that required in recommendation 9.
Compliance Recommendation 12 — The Committee proposes this possible model for a compliance regime— Upkeep and oversight of the register by a registrar should have a very limited impact on the public purse. The register should have proportionate sanctions. It should give organisations a fair opportunity to address inadvertent breaches before considering any public censure. The following steps could be taken in the event of transgressions— a confidential prompts from the registrar to an organisation seeking resolution; b referral by the registrar to the Commissioner or a complaint could be made direct to the Commissioner by any member of the public.
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The Commissioner could then investigate the matter and, depending on the findings— i. On receipt of findings from the Commissioner, parliamentary sanctions available to the Committee could include a report to Parliament recommending— i. Additionally, participants who received only restricted information about the minutes thought the council was less honest compared to those who did not read them.
The relationship between transparency and trust is influenced partly by the perceived credibility of the message on the website.
People well informed about the process are inclined to base their judgment of perceived competence on this knowledge and less on message credibility. Volume 2 , Issue 1. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account. If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. Stephan G. Grimmelikhuijsen Utrecht University Search for more papers by this author. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation.
Share Give access Share full text access. Share full text access. Unfortunately, to this day there is still no overarching rule obliging them to make their full list of meetings available to the public. However, the Juncker Commission has adopted a rule that all Commissioners, cabinet members and director generals are required to publish a list of all of their lobby meetings. The Parliament unfortunately does not have any rules in place obliging Members of the European Parliament or their staff to divulge their lobby meetings, though some MEPs and groups do so voluntarily, which gives us at least some insight into who was lobbying the Parliament.
Showing laudable practice, for instance, MEP Comodini attached a legislative footprint to her report on copyright. In their listing it can also be seen that the collecting societies and publishers again got the greatest amount of access, although naturally there was a clearer national angle. The last resource for meetings data which is publicly available comes from the Green MEPs 3 , whose meetings reflected a better balance of views, a bigger presence of small organisations, and many more NGOs.
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In spite of this, however, the top 20 still contains eight collecting societies and publishers organisations see Table 3. However, three of these took place in November , after the main vote in the Parliament. Overall, the limited information which is available about lobby meetings shows the intense level of lobbying taking place on the Copyright Directive, but it also interestingly exposes that the biggest lobbies were not in fact big tech companies and their associates, as many headlines claimed, but the publishers, creative industries and collecting societies.
One to one lobby meetings are merely one way that influence can take place. Corporate Europe Observatory wrote to MEPs from the Legal Affairs Committee 4 the main committee responsible for the portfolio in the Parliament, to get their impression of the process. Marinho e Pinto social media as well as the Wikipedia page.
This is obviously concerning and counter-productive but unlikely the result of a coordinated lobby effort. And the lobbying against the proposal, I think, with a few exceptions of maybe small civil society groups, has been much more concentrated at the end. Some organisations and also some companies, like Github for example, have woken up to the fact that this might create a problem to their business model relatively late in the process, and then were able to activate some of their communities and fans.
From May to September we estimate that we got over 3, emails. They also referred us to the torrent of material his office received from publishers, collecting societies and publishers. Yet, these pamphlets do not mention anywhere who is behind them, and Europe for Creators is not a registered coalition on the EU lobby transparency register. The caption reads:. Journalists in Syria have been killed by snipers, accused of spying, and kidnapped by gunmen, and with the threats growing, many say the conflict is now too dangerous to cover.
Inside is an editorial, which is really a lobby letter, signed by 18 European News Agencies, as well as a text from AFP Baghdad Bureau Chief Sammy Ketz pictured in the emotive image used on the front cover. This is a powerful call for support, yet many doubts remain as to whether Article 11 would actually increase revenue for media and thus provide more protection to quality journalism. Academics seem unconvinced that the result will be any different at EU level see Box 1. However, Article 11 as it is drafted does not seem like it will achieve that outcome, and it might even actually lead to the opposite consequence of increasing the power of services like Google News.
The press publishers have played an important role in the debate on the Copyright Directive from the start. The German press played a similarly important role in fighting the exceptions created in the Marrakesh Treaty to increase access for blind and visually impaired people. The news publisher is influential in Germany and Europe. The first two associations even share offices with Axel Springer. A meeting between a Parliament Rapporteur, the Commissioner formerly in charge for a policy issue, and a key lobbyist is highly unusual.
The press publishers were also pioneers in hyping up GAFA lobbying in order to push through their own lobby goals. That claim was easily dismissed by everyone, as it was clear that Facebook was as interested as the publishers in saving its surveillance-based advertising business model and thus opposed a tougher data privacy law. In the copyright discussion, claims that GAFA, and particularly Google, were behind all opposition to Article 11 and 13 were again a strong message from publishers, and harder to counter.
Over-hyping the level of lobbying from Google, and painting everyone on the other side with the same brush was part of a lobby strategy. As Music:ally, an information website for the music industry, described it:. This is a highly problematic and flawed interpretation of the Transparency Register. According to available meeting data , it looks like most of Google's lobby meetings were in fact on other issues from the Copyright Directive, so it appears that this is not their priority at the moment. In most cases these groups such as Friends of Europe, Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung, Bruegel etc did little or nothing at all on the Copyright Directive, so these amounts should clearly not be included in the calculations.
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to know exactly how much money Google did spend on lobbying on copyright. This means that we will have to wait almost a year to find out exactly how much these groups spent on lobbying the EU in And even then, lobby groups only have to declare their entire budget without any issue-wise breakdown, so it will be impossible to tell how much any of these groups spent specifically on copyright, or any other issue.
Implementing the OECD Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying
With better EU lobby transparency rules it would be possible to have a properly informed debate. In the US, which has a mandatory lobby transparency system, companies are required to disclose how much they spend on lobbying on specific laws and to report every three months, so the information is up-to-date. Measures in the field of 'legislative footprint' would also help to clarify what is going on in terms of lobbying on the Copyright Directive. Lobbyists could, for instance, be required to submit policy papers and other lobbying documents to a publicly accessible online database.
To put it bluntly, no. Of course Google did lobby, but apparently not quite as significantly as those on the other side of the debate implied. However, Google and Facebook also already use content-filtering technology, and Google has even developed its own Content ID which it could sell to smaller players if they were required to filter content. Google held a total of 22 meetings with high-level Commission staff specifically on copyright. In , they were already publicly lobbying for a solution to Article 13 that included filtering.
This may have been because both Google and Facebook decided that their unpopularity meant that lobbying in their own name would be counter-productive. One of the most active of these trade associations was E d iMA , which representa online platforms and other platform-related businesses. Their work in the area began under the previous Commission, and they have also lobbied the Commission in recent years as the directive was being discussed.
Sometimes not with similar concerns, to share information. See an illustration. These included a letter to MEPs with the contents blacked out, which claimed that the introduction of filtering technology as per Article 13 would be equivalent to the military censorship which took place in There are limits to lobbying, exploiting the memory of the dead is a red line. Will we then be called collaborators? More than ever I support Article But the public stunts did not end there.
Just before the July committee vote, anyone passing the European Parliament in Brussels could not have avoided seeing the vans with strong messages against filtering. Copyright is one of the issues that CCIA lobbies on; Integritywatch 5 shows that of the 46 meetings they had with the Commission since , only five of them were explicitly on copyright. The coalition was then run by the CCIA itself, up until , when they decided to externalise the coordination due to the workload, but also to change focus from Geneva to Brussels.
De Cock, who by then had already started her own lobby consultancy, N-Square consultancy focused on telecoms and internet issues , was then hired via an open call for consultants 6. She has been running the C4C coalition since then, full-time for the past two years.