Published: Sat, August 27, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

New European publishing rules could cost Google and Facebook

New European publishing rules could cost Google and Facebook

The European Commission is working on a plan to give news publishers greater rights over content appearing on search engines such as Alphabet's (GOOG) Google.

EC's reforms proposal will add to the already strained relationship between Silicon Valley and Brussels, which are embroiled in fractious disputes over issues covering competition, tax and privacy, said.

Under the proposals publishers could charge services like Google for displaying parts of a work in search results.

Many media organisations are struggling financially in the switch to digital and online-only formats, and are trapped in a odd love-hate relationship with the likes of Facebook and Google: They are reliant on these big tech portals for most of their traffic (and Google's DoubleClick ad platform is used by the majority of publishers so they can generate ad revenue on their websites), but at the same time, are directly competing with them for advertising spend.

European news publishers may be granted the exclusive right to make their content available to the public in a new proposal from the European Commission. The aim is to strengthen the rights of those who create and invest in original content, as well as support media pluralism, democratic debate and quality of information. Google's news service, Google News would have to agree terms with news organisations to show extracts of their articles. In Germany, publishers waived the charge when traffic to their sites dropped.

European Commission spokesperson Christian Wigand was quoted by the news agency as saying, "Let's be clear: granting such rights to news publishers would not affect the way users share hyperlinks on the internet".

The proposals argue that the big online players have a "strong bargaining position" that "makes it hard for publishers to negotiate with them on an equal footing".

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