The European Parliament’s version of a new copyright directive — specifically, Article 11 and its recital 32 — will have unintended consequences for smaller news publishers by limiting innovation in journalism and reducing choices for European consumers, according to Google.
While copyrights give news publishers rights in how their work gets used, Article 11, as it is written, could require online services to strike licensing deals with publishers to show hyperlinks and short snippets of news.
The Mountain View, California search giant will "urgently call on policymakers to fix this in the final text of the directive." This means Google is asking the copyright directive to give all publishers the right to control their own business models by giving them the choice to waive the need for a commercial license for their content.
This means search engines, news aggregators, apps, and platforms would have to put commercial licenses in place, and make decisions about the types of content to include, or not, based on those licensing agreements, Richard Gingras, VP of news at Google, wrote in a blog post.
Companies like Google will be put in the position of picking winners and losers," Gingras wrote. "Online services, some of which generate no revenue (for instance, Google News) would have to make choices about which publishers they’d do deals with."
Today, more than 80,000 news publishers worldwide have an option to serve up in Google News -- but Article 11 would reduce that number, although Gingras didn't provide specifics or percentages. He also explained that it's unlikely search engines and news aggregators will be able to license all new publishers.
Smaller publishers are debating the issue and urge the EU to focus on protecting small, local and regional publishers.
Gingras believes that this move by the EU will harm news publishers and reduce the ability for consumers to access a diverse range of views and opinions, something Google has been working hard to change.
these articles pass, "European citizens may no longer find the most relevant news across the web, but rather the news that online services have been able to commercially license," he wrote, explaining
that information should be based on quality and not a payment system.