It is amazing to me how the EU is making decision after decision to stifle innovation, future development, and expression in Europe.
Don’t get me wrong here, I like the Idea of the EU and its premise. I even can accept some overreaching in certain areas.
But the new EU Laws about copyright are way over the point of “overreach” and more in the domain of “being deliberately stupid and want to cripple free discourse”.
In sum, they agreed to another version of the “Google Tax” which failed already in Germany to bring any results or further transformative innovation.
The Google Tax which is called “Leistungsschutzrecht” in short “LSR” in Germany is a right that publishers have on their content. It allows them to collect money from platforms that aggregate or show news they freely offer on their own website.
After its invention and introduction in Germany we had essentially two things happening:
- All aggregated news websites died, except one.
- Google became the only aggregated News Website with Google News because they essentially said they will not index the publishers if they don’t agree to forfeit the money they could get from the LSR
In the end, Google agreed to give the publishers some money but that is, of course, dependent on Google’s goodwill and if you support the same goals as Google. If that is any blueprint for the rest of the EU, there will be hard times for the remaining publishers and news aggregators.
But not only Google will get taxed
The next problem is a bit more tricky – see in Germany we have a right to “quote” a source.
It’s like a very limited “fair use” so we can talk about a newspaper article and can still link to the source.
Now that works for us bearly, that’s the reason we have no Youtube Sing Stars or YouTube Discussions in which other videos from the news get commented – because that is actually not possible without “fair use”.
How other Countries in the EU will handle this is therefore unknown, some have things like “fair use” or an equivalent to the law that allows “quotes”, but in the end, it will still stifle the process of discussing news, because setting a link can create an obligation to pay a fee.
Which will naturally lead to a world where links to sources become rare. Which will make it harder to determine which views are actually thoroughly researched or just unfounded ideas and views.
Result for the EU
People always ask why politics gets more and more polarized – I see other things a lot higher on the ladder then this, but also small things like not having multiple news sources at once are contributing.
I myself use Twitter currently as my own news aggregator on an extra account so that I have a newsfeed of German or English news sources. But it would be good to have better aggregators.
If you only read the story in one newspaper you have only one view – that’s why a news aggregator was such a good information tool because you could read multiple views on the same topic and got a more spreaded view of a situation.