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.