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Facebook, Google and Australia


OutByEaster?
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What am I missing about this?

It seems that Australian news outlets are insisting through their government that anywhere their content appears they want to be paid for it.

Google had an argument with them but ultimately decided to pay up to the larger players (read Murdoch).

Facebook haven't agreed  and have removed Australian news sources from their site - causing a public outcry.

Now for me, Facebook is a private website, if they decide they don't want to allow certain content on their site, that's up to them isn't it?

If it was happening here, I could still go to the BBC and find my news, but it's being reported as Facebook acting like an authoritarian state and it being a battle between plucky nations and evil tech giants for media control. I don't get it.

If it was happening here, would it means that VT would have to pay Murdoch for any link to a story in his papers? Would VT have to pay the BBC for linking to their articles? If that's the case, then I can understand why Facebook are taking this line.

With my limited understanding of things, it seems to me that Facebook are the innocent party in this and that the Australian media companies are the villains - that's not how it's reported, so I'm clearly missing the point. 

Educate me please!

 

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I don't think you're missing anything.

The Australian news companies have decided that Facebook is benefitting from linking to their articles, which may be true, so they want a peice of the pie, but they're ignoring that they're already benefitting by more traffic being sent their way.

It's like the opposite of commission. Imagine referring people to a business, and instead of sending a kickback your way, the company wanted you to pay them for the privilige.

So Facebook stops making the referrals...but that's wrong too. If them linking to news was such a problem, surely the media companies should be celebrating?

Edited by Davkaus
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I'm just looking at the report on the BBC and the comments, from big organisations with good reputations are really, really strong.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-56116738

Quote

A local campaigner with rights group Amnesty International said it was "extremely concerning that a private company is willing to control access to information that people rely on".

A private company that provides a platform for information willing not to carry some information because they've been asked to pay for it. It's up to them surely? Why can't people just find that news information from the sources it's from?

Quote

 

Julian Knight, the head of the British parliamentary committee overseeing the media industry, said it was "bully boy action".

"This action... that they've undertaken in Australia will, I think, ignite a desire to go further amongst legislators around the world," he told Reuters news agency.

 

 

Quote

The head of Germany's BDZV news publishers' association said it was "high time that governments all over the world limit the market power of the gatekeeper platforms".

Is this essentially an attempt to wrestle some sort of control out of the tech people by governments, and if so on behalf of who?

Is this just Zuckerberg and Murdoch arguing over pennies?

It just seems very strange.

Under Australian law, would I be asked to pay for this quotes from the BBC article and if so and Limpid decided to prevent links to the BBC on that basis, would you accuse him of limiting your basic human freedoms?

I'm baffled.

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9 minutes ago, Davkaus said:

It's like the opposite of commission. Imagine referring people to a business, and instead of sending a kickback your way, the company wanted you to pay them for the privilige.

This is exactly what music copyright does, in this country governed by the Performing Rights Society (PRS)

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I wouldn’t call Facebook an ‘innocent party’.  It’s a battle over how news is distributed and it’s taking place all over the world.

I can sympathise with news outlets, they take all the expense of investigating and then publishing news articles only for Facebook (et al) to aggregate their articles and collect the advertising money before it gets to the people who put in the work. It drives professional journalism to cut significant corners which leaves all of us worse off (particularly places without a well funded state broadcaster). 

Facebook’s basic model is that they ‘own‘ everything that is posted on their website, no matter who created it. When users post a picture of their kid Facebook then owns that picture and any future revenue rights to it. When a news article is posted Facebook then owns it and can charge advertising to display to the people who view it. 

The legislation in Australia attempts to get Facebook to pay for the right to use the news articles to generate traffic, essentially giving the creator of the content a cut of the profits generated by that content. Facebook doesn’t want to do that and cut all news content. Google on the other hand agreed to give the news outlets a share of the money generated from the news articles. 

You can see the news outlets across the spectrum are pretty unanimous in their stance. It’s not just Murdoch’s stables.

 

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5 minutes ago, bickster said:

This is exactly what music copyright does, in this country governed by the Performing Rights Society (PRS)

I think there's a key difference here in that PRS protects artists from their material being played, the radio or TV show is making the artist's content available without leaving their platform The equivalent to that would be Facebook completely including the text of a linked article. As I understand it though, they're not, they're directly linking to the content, which is like a band wanting compensation for a radio station telling listeners to go and listen to your music on your official site.

This is actually quite similar to Trump being banned from Twitter, and it comes down to this argument, in my mind: Are the major digital platforms essentially utilities that should be legilislated for as if they are universally available platforms?

Edited by Davkaus
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6 minutes ago, bickster said:

This is exactly what music copyright does, in this country governed by the Performing Rights Society (PRS)

Although in this case, isn't it that it's not the pub be ng asked to pay to play the latest Little Mix hit, but the pub being asked to pay because one of it's punters has brought a radio in with them and is playing the latest Little Mix hit?

 

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I'm the same as @OutByEaster? on this. I don't use Facebook so maybe i'm missing the point, but if I want to read the news i'll use the relevant news sources app. Or their website via a browser. There are plenty of other news aggregator apps out there as well if you want to combine lots of sources

Is the complaint that people want their whole world served to them through the sphere of Facebook? 

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3 minutes ago, OutByEaster? said:

Although in this case, isn't it that it's not the pub be ng asked to pay to play the latest Little Mix hit, but the pub being asked to pay because one of it's punters has brought a radio in with them and is playing the latest Little Mix hit?

 

Technically, the pub would be liable to pay PRS if an inspector came a knocking regardless of who owns the radio

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7 minutes ago, LondonLax said:

I wouldn’t call Facebook an ‘innocent party’.  

Good - my natural starting position in any kind of debate like this is to back the state against the evil private sector - that's why this one bugs me.

8 minutes ago, LondonLax said:

When a news article is posted Facebook then owns it and can charge advertising to display to the people who view it. 

The legislation in Australia attempts to get Facebook to pay for the right to use the news articles to generate traffic, essentially giving the creator of the content a cut of the profits generated by that content. Facebook doesn’t want to do that and cut all news content. Google on the other hand agreed to give the news outlets a share of the money generated from the news articles.

So it it then not possible for Facebook to simply change the way it allows users to display links to news stories so that if you want anything but the headline you have to visit the original site?

9 minutes ago, LondonLax said:

You can see the news outlets across the spectrum are pretty unanimous in their stance. It’s not just Murdoch’s stables.

Although Murdoch is the only one that Google has actually agreed to pay - presumably on the basis that if you've paid Murdoch then Australia's government pipes down.

5 minutes ago, Davkaus said:

This is actually quite similar to Trump being banned from Twitter, and it comes down to this argument, in my mind: Are the major digital platforms essentially utilities that should be legislated for as if they are universally available platforms?

I think the reaction has a lot of this in it - people for some reason seem to think that Facebook is some sort of public space when it's pretty much the opposite of that. I think somewhere the public's misunderstanding of this is being used to generate the reaction that might get someone a cut of the money they generate.

I do wonder whether if VT was in Australia whether we'd have to pay to link to content. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Xela said:

 

Is the complaint that people want their whole world served to them through the sphere of Facebook? 

It certainly appears to be that they're big enough to get people agitated doesn't it?

VT is actually worse, not only do you let us link, the rules *insist* that we include a extract of the source article depriving the content provider of the site visits.

Edited by Davkaus
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Two things, the analogy to music doesn’t hold because music is played over and over again. Listening to a song doesn’t mean you never want/need to listen to it again (ok some songs 😆). A radio playing a song is more like advertising for a band whose listeners will want to seek out that song and listen to it again. 

For news articles, you read it once and it’s then useless to you. If you read it on Facebook you have no need to go and read it on the official publishers website. 

It’s more similar to broadcast of live sports than music. Copyright laws are supposed to stop Facebook from broadcasting live sport on YouTube but it takes aggressive action from the Premier League to make sure it is enforced. Newspapers don’t have the resources to chase every copyright claim every time their articles are published on other mediums.

 

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1 minute ago, bickster said:

Technically, the pub would be liable to pay PRS if an inspector came a knocking regardless of who owns the radio

I didn't know that. Does that mean that in theory if a band play a cover in a pub the pub is liable to pay the original artist?

I was thinking about when the Premier league decided that the fixture list was a copyrighted restricted piece of information and that football websites like this one weren't allowed to reproduce a list of fixtures at the start of the season, that's as near as I can get to this law. VT could have paid the Premier league in order to be licensed to reproduce the fixture list I guess, but didn't - I don't recall on that occasion there being a huge outrage at Limpid and the suggestion that he needed to face some sort of punitive action. In that case I think most people recognised that the Premier league was being a hole - now I know this one isn't quite the same, but I'm not sure I'm entirely sold on the outrage that it seems to have produced.

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, LondonLax said:

Two things, the analogy to music doesn’t hold because music is played over and over again. Listening to a song doesn’t mean you never want/need to listen to it again (ok some songs 😆). A radio playing a song is more like advertising for a band whose listeners will want to seek out that song and listen to it again. 

For news articles, you read it once and it’s then useless to you. If you read it on Facebook you have no need to go and read it on the official publishers website. 

It’s more similar to broadcast of live sports than music. Copyright laws are supposed to stop Facebook from broadcasting live sport on YouTube but it takes aggressive action from the Premier League to make sure it is enforced. Newspapers don’t have the resources to chase every copyright claim every time their articles are published on other mediums.

That makes a lot of sense (although Youtube is google not facebook I think).

 

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10 minutes ago, Davkaus said:

I think there's a key difference here in that PRS protects artists from their material being played, the radio or TV show is making the artist's content available without leaving their platform The equivalent to that would be Facebook completely including the text of a linked article. As I understand it though, they're not, they're directly linking to the content, which is like a band wanting compensation for a radio station telling listeners to go and listen to your music on your official site.

This is actually quite similar to Trump being banned from Twitter, and it comes down to this argument, in my mind: Are the major digital platforms essentially utilities that should be legilislated for as if they are universally available platforms?

Yes, this is the argument and there is an element of truth in it when it comes to live music.

But quite frankly when it comes to Radio / clubs / etc it just isn't true, the relationship really is symbiotic, they need each oither. They need each other so much that record companies plug records to Radio Stations and Club DJs (Or they used to until the model changed). I've got a pile of white labels and promos literally given to me in the hope that I'd play them in clubs. Radio Stations the world over have had payola scandals because the record companies were literally paying them to advertise their "product". Bands crave radio sessions, again, primarily to advertise their wares

It's like being taxed for doing someone a favourt and advertising their product

Now like I said elsewhere, FB would be a much better place if it actually banned all news media worldwide but that won't happen. FB is grandstanding, the data that FB gleans from what articles people read is TOO valuable to them, without the news articles, facebook will only know if you like or dislike cats and other such meaningless shite

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6 minutes ago, OutByEaster? said:

I didn't know that. Does that mean that in theory if a band play a cover in a pub the pub is liable to pay the original artist?

Yep and the way it works now is the band are responsible for filling out the form. But these days the pub will pay a yearly licence and that money gets divied up by all the copyright owners for the year. It only really works logically for covers though because if the band play their own material, they've already been paid for the gig but get a little extra for what?

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12 minutes ago, Davkaus said:

It certainly appears to be that they're big enough to get people agitated doesn't it?

VT is actually worse, not only do you let us link, the rules *insist* that we include a extract of the source article depriving the content provider of the site visits.

You seem to be missing the point. I can set up a Facebook profile called ‘News of the Day’, copy and paste a whole articles from all the major stories in all the major papers and generate thousands of views because all the news is there in the one place. I generate loads of ad revenue for Facebook and none of my fans ever need to visit the website of the papers who wrote the articles. The legislation in Australia forces Facebook to share some of that revenue with the newspapers who created the content. 

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10 minutes ago, LondonLax said:

For news articles, you read it once and it’s then useless to you. If you read it on Facebook you have no need to go and read it on the official publishers website. 

That isn't how FB works, can't say I've ever read a whole article on FB. It's normally a link to the original site. FB actually generates traffic to the originators website. I just checked witrh a Guardian Story about U-Roy

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7 minutes ago, LondonLax said:

You seem to be missing the point. I can set up a Facebook profile called ‘News of the Day’, copy and paste a whole articles from all the major stories in all the major papers and generate thousands of views because all the news is there in the one place. I generate loads of ad revenue for Facebook and none of my fans ever need to visit the website of the papers who wrote the articles. The legislation in Australia forces Facebook to share some of that revenue with the newspapers who created the content. 

With respect, I think you're missing the point. User abuse of copy and pasting entire articles is an edge case and not the source of the complaint, Australian media companies have argued that Facebook should pay to link to their websites.

The Australian proposal wasn't to prohibit distribution of article text, it was to tax companies for linking to the articles, they wanted to tax Google for returning news articles in search results.

Edited by Davkaus
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7 minutes ago, OutByEaster? said:

That makes a lot of sense (although Youtube is google not facebook I think).

 

Yeah sorry, mixed up the owner there. 

Google have agreed to pay all the major news providers in Australia for the rights to display their content on ‘Google News’, including the ABC, it’s not just Murdoch’s stuff. 

Facebook doesn’t want to have to pay for content. It knows Australia is the test case, if it loses there other governments around the world will quickly follow suit. 

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