Too late for my print deadline, two alternate views of France and Australia’s antitrust actions against Google and Facebook arrived.
They’re a good addition to the ideas served up April 26 about efforts to make the tech giants pay for journalism they republish. (“Seeking to preserve the free press system, regulators in France and Australia will make Google and Facebook pay”)
In that article, Nikos Smyrnaios, a professor at University of Toulouse (France), said France is emboldened as it is the first of what will soon be 28 European nations adopting the EU’s new digital copyright standard. And Sarah Ganter, a Simon Fraser University professor who studies the relationship between the news business and Google and Facebook, said she sensed a more aggressive tone in both France and Australia’s declarations that news organizations will be paid. Smyrnaios and Ganter said April may mark a turning point.
But at least two others think France and Australia’s efforts may not suffice: Professor Mi-Ai Parrish, a journalism innovation expert at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Martin Moore, Director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power at King’s College London.
“This feels like more than a skirmish in this long-running war,” Parrish wrote in an email, “Maybe not the deciding battle, but one that we could look back on and say, ‘Huh, it finally was unraveling.’” Parrish is the former Publisher of The Arizona Republic and The Kansas City Star. She said she teaches journalism leadership and innovation students to think of the steady disruption of the traditional news business by publishers like Google and Facebook as a game of Jenga.
“I have them pull one, two or three blocks to represent how big a deal each disruptor is and also learn that one thing won’t knock the tower, but the industry has gotten wobblier and wobblier.”
Parrish said she isn’t convinced payments from Google and Facebook would save traditional news companies. “Traditional media — particularly newspaper companies — are so incredibly wounded that it’s likely too little, too late.”
Martin, the author of “Digital Dominance: The Power of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple” wrote in an email: “We’ll see how these efforts turn out. It’s certainly not the first time that countries have tried to force the platforms to pay for news. Previous efforts haven’t been that successful.”