back to article First Australia, maybe Europe, now America mulls effort to potentially make Google, Facebook pay for news

Both chambers of Congress reintroduced a bill on Wednesday that would give American publishers the power to negotiate with tech companies, like Facebook and Google, over the use of news content online. The bill, known as the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), has received bipartisan support in the House and …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    First unintended consequence?

    $Politcian$ registers as a newspaper so Facebook/Google can't publish details of his tax-cheating/child-sex/wig-wearing without paying him

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: First unintended consequence?

      That would not be an exception -- newspapers or even Google could write their own stories, just not copy or link to the politician's write-up. But then, the politician would presumably not write up their own cheating.

      On the other hand, possibly this could be used to prevent a "Good Morning TV" person from allowing embarrassing video of them being shared ... Presumably not though if the deal is for payment per article without being able to pick and choose which are shared later.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: First unintended consequence?

        But Google/Facebook linking to any news story would be illegal.

        So as long as the politician is friends with Murdoch only the 6 people who buy Private eye on the news stand will ever find out about it

  2. bazza Silver badge

    Bipartisan Support?

    Presumably that's going to make it difficult to lobby it out of existence?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I would not bet on that.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Whilst I have no enthusiasm for FB and the like the potential for collateral damage is huge. The basic principle of the WWW is that if you post something there it can be linked to. If you don't want that to happen don't put it there. If you don't want it indexed protect it with robots.txt. If you don't like that go off, sponsor some hard engineering effort and invent something that works the way you want but don't forget to make it attractive enough to the public that they'll want to use it.

    I can't help feeling that the traditional media giants have come along, decided this was something they could exploit and, discovering that it doesn't work exactly how they want, are now trying to change the way it works.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      I don't think the problem is with just linking to articles, it's the use of snippets of the article, and the amount of the article the snippets share. If it's enough for the reader to not need to navigate to the source, then if deprives the content owner of any traffic or ad revenue.

      1. alain williams Silver badge

        Copying snippets of news articles ...

        If they were copying snippets of music they would have had to pay a long time ago.

        Both music & news articles take time to make and both are protected by copyright - except that, in practice, journalism is not.

        1. Keith Oborn

          Re: Copying snippets of news articles ...

          Exactly. And in addition freely publishing "snippets" of someone else's work is misrepresentation and can be - and is widely - used to tarnish the original author or publisher's reputation and spread falsehoods.

          Sorry FB et al: you claim to be unable to control the content on your platforms as you are not "publishers", but you specifically allow "moderation" of chosen "closed groups", which is a contradiction - you are ceding editorial control of some content to third parties, while denying that you have any editorial control over anything.

          I am no fan of most of the "traditional" media, but they are at least controlled to some extent by legal and regulatory limits.

          What is also needed is a row-back on the attacks on "journalistic neutrality and balance". The US removed these controls over 30 years ago, and the rise of Fox, Breitbart et al are the direct result. The current UK government is proposing something similar. This is not about government control of what gets printed: it is about ensuring that what gets printed is not significantly biased in any direction.

          These controls are relatively light (in the UK) but still have teeth. Ask the Sun, Elton John, the BBC, Cliff Richard and of course the entire tabloid industry and the Sussexes. This is not about who is right or wrong, but all about what is true and reasonable to report.

          1. alain williams Silver badge

            Re: Copying snippets of news articles ...

            it is about ensuring that what gets printed is not significantly biased in any direction

            I do not mind bias in op-ed pieces as long as it is clearly marked as opinion of the author. This can lead to interesting debate, we need to be wary of no platforming unpopular views.

            There is no place for bias in, supposedly, straight reporting of facts in news. But it is really hard to police as the choice of words can completely colour descriptions: one man's "freedom fighter" is another's "terrorist".

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Copying snippets of news articles ...

              >clearly marked as opinion of the author.

              As opposed to the opinion of the publisher in the rest of the paper?

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        > it's the use of snippets of the article,

        Like the title of the article you found?

        It's hard to show the result of a search if you can only display the URL pointing to some CRM generated UUID

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        These "snippets" are almost certainly covered by Fair Use in the US. I haven't read the text of the bill, but from the description in the article, it's almost certainly inconsistent with the rest of USC 17 and would create an ungodly legal mess. It sounds nearly as stupid as the Australian law.

        I read (and pay for) newspapers, and I don't like Google or Facebook. And I'm broadly in favor of regulation where it's needed to address externalities. But these laws are rubbish, and their revenge effects will greatly outweigh any little good they do.

  4. Dinanziame Silver badge
    Meh

    I don't think this is enough

    The government needs to directly use its power.

    Allowing publishers to get together to negotiate is not enough, because even collectively, they don't have enough power to force a company like Google. And they don't have the unity either. The small publishers, the ones pushing cheap clickbait, they are not going to align with the big groups, because they know they are benefitting from the current situation more than from a complex agreement which would give them crumbs, and likely less traffic. And with the small publishers breaking away, it is entirely too easy for Facebook to say "we ain't paying for anything, your choice whether you want to be in or not."

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: I don't think this is enough

      > because even collectively, they don't have enough power to force a company like Google

      They don't have to, Murdoch just needs to have enough power to force a politician.

      Think the Sun / Daily Mail and no effect on Brexit, or Fox News on Trump's win ?

  5. Palpy
    Joke

    All the news that's (now) fit to FB

    So if FB has to pay royalties for articles from reputable news sources, those which employ professional journalists who get fired if they lie and fabricate, then clearly the "news" on FB will come to be dominated by rumor, lies, and propaganda. Yay! It's a win! A win for the rude beast now slouching toward Bethlehem.

    I'm not sure if the joke icon on this post is or is not, itself, a joke.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old boys network, literally

    It's very telling that the priority of western politicians is to make their friends in failing businesses, i.e. old school media, even richer.

    And then pretending that they work for you. In reality, they're just rabble rousers who are actually mocking you.

    WTF aren't they concentrating on changing the tax laws to stop FANG companies taking the public for a ride and taxing them in a meaningful way?

    :(

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