Monday, August 3, 2020

Getting Paid is the right of the Creator: Will new laws force Google and Facebook to do that?

It is the fundamental right of a creator to get paid for his/her product(s) and (or) service(s). Using that to generate revenue, and not sharing that revenue with the creator is nothing but theft of intellectual property. Not getting paid for quality work, not only deprive the creator of his livelihood but also reduce the motivation to do so. It is a loss for society in the long term.

The seriousness of this crime does not come down just because the product we discuss here are news articles. The fight against content aggregators and traffic drivers like Google, Facebook, etc. are going on for some time. The accusation is, they make revenue out of contents but fail to pay or share it with content generators.

Before the digital era came, media created their content and got paid in the form of ad revenue and user subscription fees. In the digital age, local news outlets have less control over the news they published online. They hardly have any wherewithal to bargain with transnational media behemoths like Google and Facebook. These two drove a lot of traffic to their sites; they also display snippets from these media organizations and use it to design their own products. In this deal, local media outlets lost everything. Let me remind you, it is often these local newspapers which stay close to people on the ground and report on community issues which affect the daily life of citizens. 

Recently the Australian government asked Facebook and Google to share revenue generated from news articles with traditional media. They must negotiate in good faith. If they refuse, there will be a binding arbitration process and penalties up to A$10 million (US$7 million) or 10% of local revenue.

It is not the first time; any government is asking them to do so. In April, France ordered Google to negotiate in good faith with local media firms and pay for what they use. Later a law was introduced last year to “transpose a pan-EU copyright reform that intended to extend publisher rights to news snippets”.

What google did? Instead of paying publishers for using their content, “they stopped displaying content that is covered by the law in local search and Google News”. Earlier Google found out workarounds in Spain and Germany. What will they do this time? Sooner or later law in similar lines will be passed in US congress. Why do not do the right thing now itself?



1. No more free rides: Australia orders Facebook, Google to share advertising revenue from news articles with media organizations- SCMP 

2. Making internet majors pay for news content they make money from - ET

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