Tags: internet | news publishers | rules | europe

WSJ: Web Firms May Have to Pay News Publishers Under New EU Rules

WSJ: Web Firms May Have to Pay News Publishers Under New EU Rules

(Dollar Photo Club)

By    |   Saturday, 27 August 2016 02:34 PM

 

The European Commission reportedly wants to give news publishers the right to seek financial compensation from internet search engines like Alphabet Inc.’s Google that use their online content.

The proposal, part of a sweeping push to modernize EU copyright rules, will be presented in September. The Commission said it wanted Europeans in the 28-nation block to access a wide and diverse legal offer of content, and therefore strengthen cultural diversity, while ensuring that authors and other rights holders are better and more fairly protected.

The media industry has often accused Google of making money at its expense by making its content freely available via Google News. The Commission expects the new right to increase publishers' revenues, though they can still decide to make their content freely available.

 

An internal European Union document viewed by The Wall Street Journal said the plans are still being formulated and haven’t been finalized.

“The possible EU move to pave the way for potentially lucrative agreements between publishers and web giants could be a boon to news publishers who have been hurting from falling revenue as more readers consume news online,” WSJ.com explains.

“But the draft rules could be a blow to internet companies like Google who may now have to negotiate individual deals with publishers if they want part of the newspaper articles to appear in their news search service,” WSJ.com reports.

EC spokesman Christian Wigand contends the plan aims to give news aggregators ‘a stronger position when negotiating with other market players. This is absolutely not about an EU levy on search engines."

He added that the overall objective "is to make sure that Europeans can access a wide and diverse legal offer of content, and therefore [to] strengthen cultural diversity, while ensuring that authors and other rights holders are better and more fairly protected."

Under current EU rules, publishers don’t directly hold rights for their publications but rather enforce the rights transferred to them by the journalists and photographers they employ, the Journal said. 

Google could refuse to display content from publishers who may try to charge for their content. “The market power of Google is such that many content owners will choose not to charge the fees,” Matthew Jones, a partner at intellectual property law firm EIP, told the Journal. “This could hurt the content owner much more than Google,” Jones said.

But Jones told the Street.com that the move may hurt smaller players seeking to establish viable alternatives to Google.

"These little guys are the ones that content owners will have no qualms about charging for access to their content," said Jones. "They are the ones that will not be able to afford to implement technology that will allow them to filter out content that is protected by copyright," he said. "As such, these smaller players may find themselves priced out of the market."

Reuters Breakingviews columnists Fiona Maharg-Bravo and George Hay equated the plan to offering "a vitamin pill to a dying media patient."

The columnists called the proposal "logical, potentially helpful and probably impracticable. Publishers and Google are in an increasingly unequal fight. Being allowed to charge fees might work if every media outlet exercises its right to do so. But with 57 percent of their EU news traffic driven by social media, news aggregators and search engines, and competition among media groups fierce, taking a stand is easier said than done."

(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).

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The European Commission reportedly wants to give news publishers the right to seek financial compensation from internet search engines like Alphabet Inc. 's Google that use their online content.
internet, news publishers, rules, europe
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2016-34-27
Saturday, 27 August 2016 02:34 PM
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