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Press agencies join the collective moaning and demand new publisher's right

Am 14. Dezember 2017 - 14:25 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Some of Europe's largest press agencies urge the EU institutions to introduce the proposed ancillary copyright for publishers plus they also want to belong to the beneficiaries. Among those agencies are the German DPA, the French AFP as well as the Spanish EFE.

The "arguments" presented in a piece in Le Monde are well known: Google and Facebook have gathered a huge pile of money with advertising revenue due to news articles while news media lose ground and make less every year. And while the online platforms neither have a news room themselves nor an international network of journalists and editors, the news media actually do and "will simply no longer be able to pay for it" if they do not get their share of the platforms' ad money.

Although we agree that well researched information and investigative journalism is essential to a democracy, so is the possibility to freely share news online for the public to be informed. But the press agencies understand the proposed right to not only cover snippets but also the mere hyperlink itself! This is a direct attack to the core functionality of the web. Linking is what the Internet is built on.

Saying that "Internet users would not be touched" by the new right is nothing more but a blatant lie. The proposed right does not explicitly target the "big players". Instead, it has no restrictions and will extend to every person or institution that shares a link. 

An ancillary copyright for press publishers and agencies will not change the situation for the better. Other ways have to be found. Ones that do leave the foundation of the web intact, that do not favour big companies and that actually fix the (at least partly self-induced) problems news media have. Please ask your MEPs to work out something that helps everyone.

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