Switzerland favors payment for journalistic content on the Internet
The Swiss government has come out in favor of a change in copyright law to require large internet providers – including Social Networks and search engines – to pay media companies for access to journalistic content, even if it is only brief excerpts.
Federal Council, the executive branch of Swissannounced on Wednesday has launched a four-month inquiry into proposed changes to reform the compensation of journalists and media companies.
The government noted the importance of public debate in a democracy and the fact that part of that debate today takes place online.
“The content offered by search engines, social networks and multimedia platforms is largely based on journalistic work by traditional publishing media”Says a government note. Portions of journalistic material are not currently protected under Swiss copyright laws.
The government said that media companies and journalists do not get any remuneration from online platforms that use their work. The calculation of such compensation will have to be negotiated by the interested parties.
“The Federal Council proposes that large Internet providers should be obliged to remunerate media companies for the use of excerpts,” the government said. “For example, if a major search engine displays excerpts from newspaper articles in its search results, the Internet provider must compensate for this in the future.”
Only the largest internet companies – whose users account for at least 10% of the Swiss population per year – would be required to pay such compensation. At the end of last year, the population of Switzerland was around 8.8 million.
The Swiss government cited changes in other countries, including the European Union – which it is not a member of – that have helped media companies protect their interests in online services.