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A breakthrough in copyright law. The Senate is expected to adopt amendments in July

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A breakthrough at the prime minister's meeting with the media. There will be help and a new law, because if there are technological giants, there must be a law protecting free media, so that editorial offices do not disappear, journalists lose their jobs, and viewers and readers will no longer find credible content. This requires a journalist, not an algorithm.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Donald Tusk and the Speaker of the Senate Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska met with media representatives at the Dialog Social Partnership Centre to discuss changes in copyright law..

The reason for the Prime Minister's meeting with media representatives can be summed up in one sentence. – We are fighting for free media to be able to operate and function in Poland – says Paweł Kapusta, editor-in-chief of the Wirtualna Polska portal.

– There is no dispute in this matter. Free media is not a slogan – declared Prime Minister Donald Tusk at the beginning. – It is in the interest of the media, journalists, creators, but also in the interest of every decent public authority to maintain the maximum level of media independence – emphasized the head of government.

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It is not so much about political independence, which is threatened in the times of Law and Justice. – There is no journalistic independence without financial independence – emphasizes the editor-in-chief of the Onet.pl portal and a member of the Polish Media Council Bartosz Węglarczyk.

“Technology corporations monopolize the digital advertising market”

The opponent is different – these are large technology companies. – The media are weakened year by year by technology corporations, because they increasingly monopolize the digital advertising market – points out Roman Imielski, deputy editor-in-chief of “Gazeta Wyborcza”.

It turns out that 70 percent of online advertising is sold by digital giants, but most of the money does not reach the creators of journalistic content.

– The dominance of technological giants, which was supposed to facilitate access to this content for users, may very easily lead to a situation in which this content will simply not be created because the editorial offices will be liquidated – warns Michał Samul, editor-in-chief of “Fakty” TVN and TVN24.

– We live in a world full of disinformation, fake news. Who is supposed to fight them, if not journalists? – asks Roman Imielski. – Algorithms will definitely not fight it – he adds.

The Sejm, with the votes of the Civic Coalition, rejected the amendment strengthening the position of the media

Already in March, the media asked the government for help in talks with big tech. The request remained unanswered, and the Sejm, with votes from the Civic Coalition, rejected the Left's amendment, which strengthened the media's position in negotiations on how much digital platforms should pay for their use of journalistic materials.

– There are no deadlines, no tools that will force companies like Google or Meta to negotiate in good faith and actually reach a settlement – comments the deputy speaker of the Senate from the Left, Magdalena Biejat.

READ ALSO: What is the journalists' protest about?

Protest of over 350 editorial offices regarding copyright. “Politicians do not understand that without money there will be no media”Martyna Olkowicz/Fakty po Południe TVN24

Negotiations can therefore continue indefinitely. – We need an arbitrator mechanism, which in a situation where these talks are conducted in an unfavourable way or are prolonged, will be able to intervene – points out Maciej Kossowski, president of the Employers' Association of Digital Publishers.

The state's motion for arbitration failed, and the bill is now in the Senate, and there was no indication that the government majority would change its mind. Until the protest, when hundreds of large and small editorial offices appealed to politicians not to kill Polish media. Because big tech “uses the content they produce with impunity and free of charge, and transfers the profits abroad.”

The protest was so large that the government proposed talks and declared its willingness to reach an agreement.

“They use the content they produce with impunity and for free, and transfer the profits abroad”

– The task of the state, as I understand it, is to create a system, a law that will protect those who create these intellectual values: from artists to journalists to publishers who cannot lose in competition with the great giants – comments the Marshal of the Senate from the Civic Coalition Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska.

The meeting ended with a specific result. From July 11, a group of publishers and government representatives will deliberate on the new provisions of the Copyright Act.

– The Senate will convene very soon this month, because it has one more session, and in the form decided by this group, it will adopt these amendments to the act – announces Bartosz Węglarczyk.

The Prime Minister sided with the media

It remains to be determined who on the state side will act as an arbitrator between the media and the digital giants.

– We will find a solution. Some kind of state administrative apparatus is certainly suitable for this – assures Deputy Minister of Culture and National Heritage Andrzej Wyrobiec.

In the dispute between the media and big tech, the prime minister sided with the media and assured 100 percent support. – So that you are not in a losing position in the confrontation that sometimes happens with the biggest ones – says Donald Tusk.

This means that ultimately digital companies will have to agree within a certain time frame on how to pay for the use of journalistic content.

Main image source: TVN24

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