French parliament adopts EU copyright reform

The lower house of France's National Assembly is the first national legislature to accede to the new copyright legislation appro
The lower house of France's National Assembly is the first national legislature to accede to the new copyright legislation approved by the European Union

The French parliament on Tuesday adopted a copyright reform to ensure media are paid for original content, typically news, offered online by tech giants such as Google and Facebook.

The revamp to European copyright legislation, adopted by the European Parliament in March, was agreed by the French lower chamber in a final reading, making France the first country to adopt the directive.

"We can be proud to be the first country to enshrine the EU directive into national law," said Culture Minister Franck Riester.

"This text is absolutely essential for our democracy and the survival of an independent and free press," he added.

The creation of what is known as the "neighbouring right" to copyright protection was loudly backed by media companies and artists, who want to secure revenue from web platforms that allow users to distribute their content.

It was strongly opposed by internet freedom activists who say it will be restrictive, acting as a "link tax" which will discourage internet discourse, and by Silicon Valley, especially Google, which makes vast profits from the advertising generated alongside the content published on its pages.

ASIC, an association of tech companies which includes Google and Facebook, said there was insufficient clarification of what the "neighbouring right" provision covered and did not define the best balance between free circulation of information and copyright protection.

At the same time, ASIC noted that the legislation included exceptions which would help ensure a free flow of information and access to it over the internet.

Major publishers including AFP have pushed hard for the reform, seeing it as an urgent remedy to safeguard quality journalism and help bolster plummeting earnings of traditional media companies.

The EU copyright directive is due to be adopted by all member states by April next year.


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Jul 23, 2019
The reform was loudly backed by media companies


Every time copyright laws are expanded, the big media corporations end up with the most benefit.

and artists, who want to secure revenue from web platforms that allow users to distribute their content.


The job of an artist/author is to create. Distribution is not their business. Of course they want the money, but a legal monopoly over distribution is just rent-seeking - making money by restricting access to what would otherwise be damn near cost-free - and the whole copyright system ultimately enables large corporations to buy and hoard the copyrights in order to extract the royalties without contributing to the work of creation. They're just adding themselves on top of the price...

Jul 23, 2019
The new publishers claim that Google is stealing their content and want Google to pay for it. All Google is doing is to show search results with the article title, the name of the publisher and maybe a thumbnail photo. That then links to the article on the publisher's site. How is that amount to taking their content? That is what allows a search engine to work at all.

The publishers could put a robots.txt file on their site that tells Google not to include it in the search results, but they don't want that. They want Google to pay them for sending viewers to their site. Meet trick.

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