The adoption of the EU Copyright Directive is not good news for the Internet in Europe and its users, says Slovakia´s right-wing NGO – INESS Institute analyst Richard Ďurana in a newspaper article. He states: “It may even happen that the Internet as we know it today can fundamentally change –for the worse. It can happen that many platforms will simply “turn off” in Europe.” Ďurana rejects arguments presented by both the supporters of the directive in the European Parliament and newspapers publishers.
“The publishers’ advertising revenues are dropping ,while at the same time the revenues of the platforms are rising. Therefore, the publishers say, the platforms would have to pay publishers for linking to their articles. However, this does not apply to published articles, but to a hyperlink with a short introduction to an article.
In fact, exactly the opposite is true: platforms drive the readers to publishers, who are then able to monetize them for reading the linked articles. In the economic terms: Platforms dramatically reduce transaction costs in order to find the intersection between the reader’s demand and the publisher’s offer. Hence, should not the publishers rather pay the platforms?” So is Ďurana explaining his view on the issue. The impact of the new arrangement will be the heaviest for small publishers, he warns, because the redirection of users to their content is crucial for them.
Ďurana also presents another point of view – making way for the innovation potential. “If somebody asks why Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay and other large Internet platforms have not emerged in Europe (and will not), this directive is one of the answers. One of controversies represents the Article 11, which introduces a tax on hyperlinking.” Yet, another issue he points at is excessive strength of the giant platforms which are securing their dominance by maintaining control over a big number of patents. “If nowadays Google wanted to start up as a garage firm (a company established under very primitive work conditions), it would stand no chance in the current patent hell. Thus, publishers and legislators want to trump the problem caused by intellectual property rights by making intellectual property rights even stronger,” argues the analyst, also introducing some quaint consequences of directive´s proposed clauses.
Nevertheless, the Slovak publishers stand firmly by their viewpoint that the new rules brought by the copyright directive will be good for them. The Slovak Press Publishers’ Association together with the Slovak Syndicate of Journalists issued a supporting statement to members of the European Parliament. It reads, i. a.: “In particular, we insist on retaining Articles 11 and 13, which guarantee publishers and journalists a fair share of income from the online dissemination of their content. We believe that platforms such as Google and Facebook use this content for commercial purposes and it is not fair if they pay nothing to publishers and journalists for their work and deployment.”