The European Commission is is working on a significant overhaul of copyright law that aims to help level the playing field between news outlets and tech giants like Google and Facebook, The Financial Times reported.
But the move threatens to further heighten tensions between the European authorities and Silicon Valley companies, which are locked in disputes on the continent over everything from tax to competition law.
"If the investments and contribution of publishers increase the value of publications but are not compensated by sufficient revenues, the sustainability of publishing industries in the EU may be at stake with the risk of further negative consequences on media pluralism, democratic debate and quality of information," the draft proposals say.
The move could see media companies begin to charge Google for showing snippets of their articles in its Google News feature, a powerful source of traffic for the companies. But it's unclear what Google's response would be: In Spain, after a similar measure was introduced, it removed the feature in the country — sparking a drop in traffic of up to 14% for some publications.
Google declined to comment.
Henry Blodget asks the obvious question:
Search engines are marketing billboards in most cases. How exactly would it work if there was a law that demanded that billboard owners pay advertisers?Hmm. Why will the "search sites" bother to index their articles then? https://t.co/1EOlw8mLaS— Henry Blodget (@hblodget) August 26, 2016
It is a non-coercive option so it doesn't interfere with anyone's freedom. Indeed, it appears to actually expand property rights and the ability set the terms of exchange, but it is difficult to see how this will become operational in most cases.
(via Business Insider)