New European Copyright Reforms in the Digital Single Market - Is There a Threat to Quality Journalism?
Dimitar Dimitrov, Director of European Policies at Wikimedia and a Bulgarian political scientist, shared his fears that a new copyright law reform would hamper quality journalism in Europe.
He and other professionals in the digital industry, such as Karl Ryan, a public relations and government manager at Google, comment on the change in behavior of users who need to receive information from a variety of media sources and, of course, rely on their credibility, which in turn leads to popularity among fake news distributors.
The growing spread of fake news is one of the leading motives for introducing additional copyrights for news sites. The new law will require a license to be issued to anyone who partially redistributes news content. Such content is understood to mean any text that has a direct link to the article that is added when sharing articles on sites and social networks.
"Nowadays, references to the internet often contain the name of the article. According to the proposal in this reform even if we share a reference, we should ask for permission from the publishers - Dimitar Dimitrov says. This new related right for press releases would also make it practically impossible to compile annotated bibliographies containing news articles, we use Wikipedia to point sources and guide readers where they can get more information. "
One of the goals of this new law is to make social networks pay a certain amount to the publishers they are tied to. Failure to pay even for the brief paragraphs used to inform readers about what is behind the link will be defined as a copyright infringement.
The adherents of this new norm claim that it will help preserve valuable journalism and strengthen its stance against fake news. However, this new plan may not be fully supported. Experience with similar laws in Germany and Spain clearly shows that many of the media will not be able to pay this new fee. Others would make a business decision not to do so. As a result, this new barrier would put real news in unequal position with competition, and there may also be a risk of stifling innovation in the media sector just when they are most needed.
Europe needs measures to increase the visibility of quality, reliable information and promote innovation in the news and digitization. A vote on the proposed copyright reform in the digital single market is on 28 September.
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