Denmark's Media Companies Form 'Copyright Collective' To Force Google And Facebook To Pay More For Sending Them Traffic

from the still-a-bad-idea dept

One of the most outrageous ideas dreamt up by traditional media companies is that Internet companies like Google and Facebook should pay for the privilege of sending huge amounts of traffic to their sites. This "snippet tax", also known as the "link tax", was unfortunately enshrined in the EU Copyright Directive in 2019. More recently, Australia has brought in its own link tax, the News Media Bargaining Code, that is even worse than the EU approach.

The move from explicitly targeting snippets to forcing Internet companies to negotiate with the media is significant. It's a recognition that Google and Facebook could avoid paying the link tax if they stopped displaying snippets from media companies. The latter obviously don't want that, since they know it would cause a precipitous drop in the number of people visiting their titles. Instead they want Internet companies to pay up -- just "because". Media companies in Denmark have decided to do this as a group, reported here by the Financial Times (paywall):

Denmark's media industry is pioneering a new bargaining tactic with Google and Facebook over payments for news, with newspapers, broadcasters and internet start-ups joining forces to negotiate with the tech groups as a copyright collective.

Almost 30 Danish media companies will meet on Friday for their first general assembly as a collective bargaining organisation in a move they hope can provide inspiration for other countries in Europe and beyond.

Anders Krab-Johansen, chief executive of newspaper group Berlingske Media and head of the informal network behind the alliance, told the FT that the idea was to stop Google and Facebook negotiating a few deals that set the benchmark for the others. He hopes that the new "copyright collective" will have better luck squeezing more money out of Internet companies.

Changing the format of the negotiations doesn't hide the fact that this is still traditional media companies demanding to be paid for their own failure to innovate and move online quickly enough. It was a bad idea when it was framed as a link tax, and it's a bad idea now it's in the form of collective bargaining.

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Filed Under: ancillary copyright, bargaining code, competition, denmark, journalism, link tax
Companies: facebook, google


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 1 Jul 2021 @ 10:04am

    I mean they'd never be THAT stupid

    No worries, as both Google and Facebook have been smart enough to flat out refuse such demands in the past I imagine this will end up a while lot of nothing, I mean it's not like those companies would ever be so stupid as to just cave and start paying out such absurd demands or anything as that's the sort of thing that would result in every country coming to them and demanding 'their share' and it becoming a lot more difficult to refuse if they caved even once...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Crafty Coyote, 1 Jul 2021 @ 1:06pm

    That this should happen in Denmark just makes it hilarious, if you know even a little bit of poetry.

    Rudyard Kipling

    Dane-Geld
    A.D. 980-1016
    It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
    To call upon a neighbour and to say: --
    "We invaded you last night--we are quite prepared to fight,
    Unless you pay us cash to go away."

    And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
    And the people who ask it explain
    That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
    And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

    It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
    To puff and look important and to say: --
    "Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
    We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

    And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
    But we've proved it again and again,
    That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
    You never get rid of the Dane.

    It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
    For fear they should succumb and go astray;
    So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
    You will find it better policy to say: --

    "We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
    No matter how trifling the cost;
    For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
    And the nation that pays it is lost!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Jul 2021 @ 12:17am

      Re:

      And the vikings, it has to be pointed out, have nothing on the danish Rettighedsalliansen - "Rights Alliance".

      The danish copyright church is as vexatious and obnoxious as any of their peers.

      And yes, Google and Facebook are now paying for not hardlining australia. Ever nation hosting a local chapter of the church of copyright will be falling over themselves to get in on the protection racket.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2021 @ 1:29pm

    Honestly, at this point I would welcome Google and Facebook blocking all links to all relevant media companies worldwide, just to put a stop to this nonsense once and for all. If they don't want free links then they don't get links at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2021 @ 1:51pm

    Once you pay the Danegeld...

    ... the Dane no longer needs to innovate?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2021 @ 2:14pm

    Yellow pages

    Did the phone companies ever have to pay all the businesses listed in the yellow pages?
    I think it was the other way around... businesses paid extra to be more noticeable in the yellow pages.
    Google is pretty similar to yellow pages, but (some) businesses want google to pay them to list the business in search... that seems silly and a bit backwards... but then again, if google had a program that let you pay to get the first result, I think a lot of people would probably become upset and complain that it wasn't "fair" for others to pay to be at the top of results...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      R.H. (profile), 2 Jul 2021 @ 4:46pm

      Re: Yellow pages

      That's the thing, Google does have a program that allows you to pop up at the top of the search results. If you pay to advertise on certain search terms you appear above the "organic" search results.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2021 @ 2:38pm

    google should do the same as in spain ,
    shut down google news ,
    or simply display a list of news websites with no links to particular storys.
    maybe other companys see what happened in australia,
    where the government simply forced google to make a deal with the larger news websites.
    the problem with all this is it breaks the internet, the first principal
    is search engines can list all websites if they are legal without any payment,
    not on the dark web,
    any website that put up paywalls or block google search if they wish

    they want google to send em customers and also get paid for any link
    snippets
    All big media companys pay seo experts to get higher in the google search results

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    William Null, 1 Jul 2021 @ 2:53pm

    More like copyright cartel.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2021 @ 4:25pm

    Google is missing an amazing business opportunity.

    Here's the proposal:

    1. Google will pay the Newspapers 10% of the revenue they get from news.google.com.
    2. The newspapers pay Google 10% of the ad revenue from the pageviews sent to them by Google News.

    At the end of each month, tally up the numbers, and see who gets the Free Parking money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris Brand, 2 Jul 2021 @ 10:03am

    Is that legal?

    Don't they have laws against price fixing in Denmark?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 3 Jul 2021 @ 12:26pm

    Copyright.

    The magic word that makes sending invoice fraud legal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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