EU copyright reform: free Internet content in danger?
Users who want to upload copyrighted content on the Internet may soon be prevented from doing so by upload filters. The EU Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs last week voted in favour of a copyright law reform that would include this measure. Another controversial point is the ancillary copyright law. The European Parliament will vote on the legislation at the beginning of July. Commentators take a predominantly negative view of the reform.
The quality of the press will suffer
The planned intellectual property law stipulates that companies like Google and Facebook must pay media companies for shared content. But that would turn the press into nothing more than suppliers for these platforms, Pierre Bentata of the economics institute Molinari warns in Contrepoints:
“As of now the media companies that receive such sums will lose all incentive to attract readers directly to their own sites. The best survival strategy will then no longer be innovation and modernisation to attract new readers and increase subscriptions, but producing content that is tailor-made for these platforms. ... Another consequence is that the press as a whole will have every interest in producing the most-shared rather than the most pertinent content!”
Good journalism can't be had for free
Those who want content on the Internet to be for free should consider the following arguments, La Repubblica counters:
“To travel to the most dangerous places in the world to report on war or a political crisis costs money and is risky. ... The dissemination of information for free has killed off smaller newspapers, restricted pluralism and given the social networks boundless power. ... Behind Facebook you have engineers, marketing experts and intelligent machines. ... Behind a newspaper you have professionals who may not be infallible but who try to give their work political meaning and to interpret the world. ... It's time to resolve the problem, but we mustn't forget: what would the world be without newspapers? Public opinion is not an algorithm.”
Europe's competitiveness will be smothered
Commenting in Äripäev, freedom of information activist Märt Põder has nothing good to say about the planned reform:
“Instead of boosting competitiveness by harmonising and simplifying copyrights, the short-sighted objective of the directive seems to be to subsidise the antiquated business models of media companies with a 'link tax' and create an upload filter market for major US companies that are free from such restrictions in their own country. ... It's incomprehensible that Estonia, which sees itself as the pioneer of digitisation, is not campaigning for the interests of its own universities and companies and is instead contributing to a move that will help to smother Europe's competitiveness.”