Potential value and distribution of press publishers’ right queried

7 September 2018

An article by Friedhelm Greis via golem.de has queried the potential value of the proposed press publishers’ right (available in German, here). In particular, the article assesses tariff percentages set by VG Media (a collecting society for commercial media enterprises based in Germany), which may apply to platforms such as Google, should the proposed article 13 be passed. Compared to total profits of large publishers, the addition of this tariff would apparently make negligible difference, unless tariff percentages were significantly higher. Furthermore, any such revenues would be consolidated with one publisher (Axel Springer, approximately 64%), largely neglecting smaller or local businesses.

The article also queries whether clickbait articles will be disproportionately rewarded by a new neighbouring right. Noting that where news aggregation sites would be compelled to “pay by click”, this may result in skewed distributions (and may encourage publishers to hire, e.g. search engine specialists, as opposed to journalists, seeming to defeat the purpose of supporting journalism through a neighbouring right).

Concluding, the article notes that given the number of proposed amendments (some 250), the proposed Directive may be returned to the Legal Affairs Committee.