Google and Facebook may have to pay for use of news in Europe

It is the issue that won’t go away for Google, Facebook and other internet companies: Should they have to pay news organizations for using a snippet of their content?

The European Commission is planning to propose rules that will allow European news organizations to levy fees on Google, Facebook and other internet firms for using their content, the Financial Times reports.

The rules will be published in September and will likely put more strain on U.S. and European officials, the FT said.

The impetus for the proposals is to give more financial support to European publishers at a time when Google and Facebook are earning increasingly more of the advertising revenue pie.

Performers, broadcasters and others already have the protection the Commission is considering, which is called “neighboring rights.”

Prior efforts to force internet firms to pay up in both Germany and Spain have not worked. In Germany, publishers waived the charge when traffic to their sites dropped. And in Spain, Google responded by shutting down Google News.

Under the Commission’s proposal, media companies would not have to require internet firms to pay for the use of snippets.

A spokesman for the European Commission said, according to The Guardian:

The commission is considering whether to grant such rights to news publishers. It would recognise their role as investors in content and give them a stronger position when negotiating with other market players.

Photo: The Google logo at an event. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)


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