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Media: unprecedented union in Denmark to negotiate with web giants

The main Danish media will unite to collectively negotiate their copyright with web giants like Google and Facebook, one of the leaders of the initiative said on Monday, a first in Europe.
About thirty groups, including the public televisions DR and TV2, the Ritzau news agency and almost the entire Danish media landscape, have founded an organization which will officially see the light of day on Friday, Stig Ørskov, director- explained to AFP. general of JP-Politikens Hus, the leading Danish newspaper group.

It will represent them jointly to negotiate and collectively collect the amount of rights, including the new so-called “neighboring” rights recognized by a European directive.

“It will work like a copyright society in our discussions with big tech companies like Google and Facebook,” Ørskov said.

“Our main demand is that the tech giants pay a fair share for the news content created by the Danish media that they use and profit from,” he pleaded.

The objective is to give “greater negotiating force” at a time when press groups deplore “separate non-transparent agreements” between the Gafa and certain media, insisted Mr. Ørskov.

The web giants “are using a strategy of divide and conquer and what we hope to achieve is a collective agreement that will be beneficial for the whole industry,” he said.

Within the European Union, a 2019 copyright directive established a “neighboring right” for the benefit of publishers and news agencies, in order to remunerate the use of their online content.

This directive has already resulted in a framework agreement between Google and the French press in 2020, but payments remain bilateral and the agreement does not cover all media.

In the Danish model, each group gives up defending its own products.

“The media companies have transferred their mandate to the organization. This is a well known and proven approach in Denmark and we hope to achieve the best results in this way, without necessarily being tied to a specific news product. “, stressed Mr Ørskov.

The approach, which is intended to be a first in Europe, comes at a time when Brussels is on the offensive with two draft directives (known as DSA and DSM) which aim to considerably strengthen the regulation of platforms.

According to Stig Ørskov, talks with the “Gafa” could start “quite quickly”. “There have already been informal contacts with Google. However, we are in no rush and want to do things right,” he concluded.

Asked by AFP, Google assured “respect” the strategy of the Danish media.

“We will respect the way the Danish publishers have chosen to negotiate, and have already offered to start discussions with them, with the aim of reaching fair and reasonable agreements in line with the law.”

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