Media companies in Denmark have come together to collectively bargain for copyright payments from big tech companies Facebook and Google. The collective includes 30 Danish media companies and will have its first general assemble this Friday. If successful, this tactic could act as inspiration for other countries in Europe.
Why do media companies want copyright payments?
For the past decade, media companies have been losing revenue as consumers today almost exclusively consume content digitally. The main source of revenue for media companies used to be advertising. However, online a huge part of advertising revenue goes to big tech companies like Facebook and Google. Media companies do not make a lot of revenue from ads shown on their sites. At the same time, Google and Facebook have been showing content from these websites on their platforms without providing any sort of compensation to the original creator. For example, when users share an article link on Facebook, the platform shows the article headline and a snippet of the content from the article. Often users consume that information and don't bother clicking to visit the website. This way Facebook is shows content to its users however, original content creators receive no remuneration or traffic. Similarly, Google search results show users content from websites without compensating the outlets that created that content.
The EU Copyright Directive
In 2019, the European Union passed the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market to protect press publications. The goal of the directive was to reduce the gap between how much profit is made by internet platforms and content creators. France was the first country to interpret and implement the directive. There media companies negotiated a framework for payments with Google collective. However, payment terms were negotiated bilaterally between the content creators and Google. This approach was divisive within France's media industry.
Which Danish Media companies are joining forces?
The collective includes Denmark's state broadcaster DR, private broadcaster TV2, newspaper groups of Berlingske and JP Politikens Hus, internet start-up Zetland, and other local publications and specialist titles. Notably, magazine publisher Egmont is not part of the collective. An indication that it is a complex endeavor to reconcile the different interests of media companies. Cheif Executive of Berlingske, Anders Krab-Johansen, commented on the co-operation telling the Financial Times, “What you see in most countries is that Google or Facebook negotiate particular deals with one or a few dominant media companies and they set the standard and the market has to follow. We would rather have a collective bargaining power, which gives us some size.”
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1. Jun 2021, R. Milne, "Danish media club together to make US tech giants pay for news", Financial Times, [available online] available from: https://www.ft.com/content/c83d6b7f-ed19-4a90-a719-3bf4aedccdff [accessed Jun 2021]