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Media protest. Regulations similar to those demanded by publishers already exist in several countries

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Polish media protest against amendments to the Copyright Act. Publishers warn that the currently proposed regulations are very unfavourable for media and may lead to the closure of many of them. Media in other countries are also facing the same problem – what solutions have been found there?

Polish media they appeal to politicians about changes in the content of the amendment adopted by the Sejm Act on Copyright and Related Rights. They demand a strengthening of publishers' position in relations with technology giants such as Google, Microsoft and Meta, who earn money from journalistic content, although they do not create it themselves.

The same problem is faced by media in other countries, and several of them have already introduced new regulations. What do they look like?

France

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France regulated the relations between media and technology companies back in October 2019. As Le Monde explained, these regulations obliged technology giants to pay for the use of content. Details of these payments are specified in the concluded contracts, and any irregularities in their enforcement are supervised by control bodies, including the French competition authority.

Although some consider the French regulations to be insufficiently precise, they have also contributed to several important decisions. Their entry into force resulted, among others, in the imposition by the French competition authority of a fine of 500 million euros (the equivalent of over PLN 2 billion) on Google for failing to negotiate “in good faith”.

In March 2024, Google was also fined €250 million (over PLN 1 billion) for failing to fulfil all of its obligations, including remunerating online media and informing publishers about how their content is used.

In May of this year, a French court issued a decision in a lawsuit filed by several media outlets, including “Le Monde”, “Le Figaro”, and France24, against X (formerly Twitter). It ordered the company to provide publishers with information on how much it earns from publishing content created by the media and how this content engages users of the platform.

SEE ALSO: Why is there a media protest?

Australia

Australia introduced new regulations governing the relationship between media and big tech companies in 2021. The move was met with strong opposition from Google and Meta (owner of Facebook and Instagram). In a gesture of opposition, before the regulations came into force, the latter even introduced a temporary block on Australian content on its platforms.

The restrictions were in place for only a week, however. Eventually, both companies reached an agreement with the government and local publishers. The Reuters Institute estimates the value of these agreements at at least 200 million Australian dollars (equivalent to about 535 million PLN).

Canada

She encountered similar obstacles Canadawhich adopted regulations on fees for content publishers in June 2023. And here, Meta and Google, in opposition, announced the blocking of local content on their platforms.

Google did not finally implement it, Meta decided to do it in August 2023. As this deadline coincided with fires raging in Canada, this step was later loudly criticized. The American company was accused of limiting access to reliable information at a critical time for the local community. However, this restriction continues to this day. Google ended the battle with the Canadian government in November 2023, agreeing to a contract worth 100 million Canadian dollars (equivalent to about PLN 290 million).

California

Very advanced work on implementing this type of legislation is also underway in the US state of California. A bill on this matter was adopted last week by the judicial committee of the upper house of the local parliament and is waiting for a vote in the Senate.

If passed into law, it would require companies like Google and Meta to pay flat annual fees for using publishers' content, or force them to mediate or arbitrate to negotiate how much of their digital advertising revenue they would have to pay to media outlets.

SEE ALSO: Why the Copyright Act being passed may mean the liquidation of many media

BBC, France24, Le Figaro, Le Monde, Reuters Institute, The Guardian, tvn24.pl

Main image source: Shutterstock



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