The1stCitizenOfTheIn OP t1_jdz5pne wrote

> is 'taxes' with the right of nation States, including democratically elected ones, to regulate tech as they see fit.

They should "regulate tech as they see fit"?

Even when it might potentially violate international trade agreements like CUSMA, international treaties like the Berne Convention, and go against their own supreme court's decision on how limiting linking in any way would be against people's freedom of expression?

This is not about "regulating tech", this is taking a sledgehammer to one of the major pillars of the internet in order to enrich media corporations.

No one in their right mind, should be falling for a short-sighted, computer illiterate government's attempt to take advantage of the hate against google & facebook in order to mandate payments for linking and deliver boatloads of cash to their allies in the broadcasting sector (which stands to get 75% of the money, even if they don't produce any news at all).


The1stCitizenOfTheIn OP t1_jdym798 wrote

>The entire rationale for this plan seems to be “news organizations used to be rolling in easy money, they failed to innovate with the times, and now Google and Meta are rolling in easy money, so we should just make Google and Meta give news orgs cash

>Sometimes people try to get all high minded and talk about the importance of journalism, which I agree is important and which certainly could use new sustainable business models, but that doesn’t explain why they should break the fundamental nature of the internet (everyone can link to everyone) to solve that problem.

>Also, none of it explains why internet companies should magically be responsible for paying journalism outfits.

>At best supporters of these plans come up with this rationale: Google and Meta take a huge percentage of digital advertising, and it’s likely that those ad budgets used to be what supported news orgs, so therefore, they should share some of the cash.

>When people look askance at that — or point out that under that logic any business that successfully competes with a legacy business should be forced to share its revenue with the business they out competed — they might say “but Google and Meta “use” news without paying for it.

>Google News is an aggregator/news search engine that sends traffic to people’s sites by linking to those news stories.

>Meta’s Facebook property similarly allows its users (who often include news sites themselves) to link to their stories elsewhere and drive traffic to them.

>If those sites fail to monetize that traffic, that’s kinda on them.

>Now, when I point that out, some people claim that those links don’t really send that much traffic, because too many people just see the link/headline/snippet and decide they don’t need to’s difficult to see how that’s Google or Facebook’s fault.

>Good journalism has to add value, and part of that is building up a reputation that readers should want to read the details and nuances.

>If Google and Facebook sending them traffic was really a problem, they could easily fix that themselves.

>They can use robots.txt to block Google. They can use referrer tags to block traffic from Facebook. They can change the social graph content to make it less appealing.

>But, of course, they do the opposite of that. They hire Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing experts to try to help them “rank better” on these sites and get more traffic. They explicitly try to get better promotion from those sites because they already get tremendous value from that traffic.

>Now they want to get paid for that traffic that they already value! It’s basically news orgs saying “hey Google and Meta, not only must you advertise us for free, you must ALSO pay to advertise us.” The whole equation seems backwards.

>And, of course, the only way that these link tax plans actually work is by breaking the most fundamental element of the open web: the hyperlink.

>For the entire history of the open web, a key attribute was the freedom to link to others. Now, those others could block the traffic, or put up a paywall, or whatever else they wanted.

>But everyone must be free to link to one another.

>These “big tech pays news” schemes break this fundamental idea. They announce that some companies, these big companies who apparently no one likes, must suddenly pay to link.

>And sure, you can easily state (1) these big companies can afford it, and (2) no one likes them any way, so maybe you think that’s good. But nothing good comes from breaking the fundamental principles of the open web.

>Once you break this concept of the freedom to link, you’re flinging open Pandora’s box to all sorts of mischief.

>Once industries learn that the government has no problem stepping in and forcing companies to pay for links, does anyone really believe it will stop at news organizations? Of course it won’t.

>Then the whole internet just becomes a food fight for lobbyists to argue with politicians over which industries they can force to subsidize other industries.

>It’s pure unadulterated crony capitalism at its worst. Those with the best connections get to have the government force those with weaker connections to subsidize their own failures to innovate and compete.

>And yet, this idea remains inexplicably popular (I mean, it’s quite explicable for the news orgs, but it’s inexplicable why so many others have jumped on board). As you’ll recall there were a few early experiments with this in Europe.

>In Belgium, when such a law passed, Google threatened to block any publisher who didn’t give them a free license, and all the publishers rushed in to give Google a free license, showing again how much they actually value the traffic.

>In Germany, the tax was applied to snippets, so Google did the only sensible thing and removed snippets, causing the publishers to freak out again.

>In response, Spain passed an even more problematic version that said that Google literally couldn’t block those it didn’t want to pay. They literally said that if you have a news aggregator product, paying for links is mandatory.

>So Google did the only reasonable thing: shutting down Google News in Spain. Still the program went ahead, and, of course, it was the smaller news orgs who suffered the most.

>Of course, the biggest success for all this, not surprisingly came in Australia, where everyone freely admitted that it was a plan to extract money from Meta and Google and hand it to Rupert Murdoch, who has been most pleased with the arrangement. Yet again, while this subsidy to Murdoch may have made him happy, it served to screw over smaller publications.

>This whole scheme has now come to North America. Last year, Senator Amy Klobuchar pushed to help Rupert Murdoch and to harm the open internet with her JCPA. While that failed, it’s quite likely it’ll come back in some form — probably worse — soon.

>But now the biggest push is up in Canada, where bill C-18 has been a big point of discussion for months. As in Australia, backers of the bill insist it’s not a link tax, it’s just a law to require a negotiation on how much to pay. But… pay for what?

>The answer is to link. It’s a link tax. The people claiming otherwise think you’re stupid.

>Already, both Google and Meta have said they’ll block news links in Canada if this bill passes. And, again, this is the only reasonable move: if the government taxes something you expect to get less of it.

>The stupidest thing in all of this is not only is the government trying to force the payment of something that is fundamentally free, they seem to expect the sites to just continue letting news flow across their platform, despite its costs.

>The Canadian government is so mad that Google and Meta are doing exactly what the government is pressuring them to do by taxing an activity, that they’re calling it “intimidation” and demanding internal communications from both companies.

>It’s kind of a galaxy brain take to say “you’re engaged in intimidation by following the incentives we’re creating, so in response, we’re going to intimidate you by demanding your private communications.”

>...The bill’s title is: “An Act respecting online communications platforms that make news content available to persons in Canada.”

>Google and Facebook are not “making news content available” to people in Canada. They’re linking to that news that the news organizations are themselves making available.

>...The days of the open web where concepts like “linking” were unquestioned may be coming to an end.


The1stCitizenOfTheIn OP t1_j0r3b14 wrote

>What a childish take. “We don’t like the way things are” “Then leave”

Despite what your strawman suggests it's not a "take" it's a solution to the problem that these news companies are claiming to have.

>Why not “ok let’s change things”.

These news companies are more than welcome to make these changes and watch the "theft" by google and facebook disappear.