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Microsoft pushes for publisher payments through European law

Microsoft logo at Ignite
Microsoft logo at Ignite (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft and Europe's press publishers have jointly called for Australian-style arbitration to help publishers get paid.
  • The goal of Microsoft and the press publishers is to ensure that publishers get paid when their content is used by "gatekeepers that have dominant market power."
  • A similar push is occurring in Australia at the moment.

Microsoft continues its efforts to push for the payment of publishers. Today, Microsoft and Europe's press publishers jointly called (opens in new tab) for an "Australian-style arbitration mechanism in Europe to ensure tech gatekeepers remunerate press publishers fairly for use of content." This push from Microsoft and publishers aims to ensure that publishers of content are paid when content is used by websites like Facebook and Google.

The press release refers to "gatekeepers that have dominant market power" using content. In practice, this refers to organizations with a large footprint and market share, such as Facebook and Google. The release states:

The solution should mandate payments for the use of press publishers' content by these gatekeepers and should include arbitration provisions, to ensure that fair agreements are negotiated. Such provisions should consider the model established by the Australian law, which enables an arbitral panel to establish a fair price based on an assessment of the benefits derived by each side in having the news content included on these gatekeepers' platforms, the costs of producing this content, and any undue burden an amount would place on the platforms themselves.

The release calls for further regulatory measures through existing frameworks such as the Digital Markets Act, Digital Services Act, and other laws.

Fernando de Yarza, president of News Media Europe says:

The experiences in France and Australia have shown us that there's a real need for a binding instrument to address inherent imbalances in bargaining power with gatekeepers, which undermine the potential of Europe's press sector. We look forward to working with Microsoft and others on a solution that allows for a healthy and diverse online news media ecosystem.

Microsoft has been vocal in its support of the Australia proposal that many countries are looking to imitate. In fact, Microsoft president Brad Smith called on the US to copy the proposal.

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

7 Comments
  • Oh MS. You really should be better than this. Taxing links is going to break the internet in a really bad way and only serves to give handouts to old media that should've adapted.
  • It's not about links, it's about using the content behind it.
  • Is it a tax or profit share to the media company being linked? If the former, I agree with you, but I thought it was about sharing the revenue they get for advertising on pages where the real content to the meaty stories by others. If it's that, I don't feel too bad about Google and Facebook (even as American companies) sharing their earnings on the back of someone else's copyrighted material. If they haven't been so abusive of intellectual property rights all along, I might feel differently.
  • Google's entire model was not to make a better product, but to make one barely good enough and support it with user data mining to try and undermine the business model of others. Shoe is on the other foot now, we'll see if they can take what they dish out.
  • Google and Facebook should be able to adapt to the changes that are coming. It's not other's fault that Google and Facebook are becoming legacy media themselves, having made their models so ad-dependent that regulatory changes can threaten their models. Adapt or die.
  • Agreed, windows central is a more accurate news source than the legacy news networks. Bet microsoft doesn't mean they'll get paid the same for example.
  • Isn't that already the case in several European countries ?