Why is the media protesting? Andrysiak: Any attempt at dialogue fell on deaf ears

Luc Williams

Protest of Polish media

Publishers and journalists of Polish media – a total of over 350 newspaper titles and local portals, as part of a one-day protest action, on Thursday issued an appeal to politicians to change the copyright and related rights provisions adopted by the Sejm that are unfavourable to the media.

Everything goes to Google

As he emphasized Andrzej Andrysiak, “the publishers who are gathered in our association are mostly press and internet publishers, we have undergone a rapid transposition to the internet”. “The mechanism is such that everything we produce goes to Google, which indexes it, shows it in the search engine and its news panels, earns money from it. And we, producing this press, do not gain any benefit from it” – he pointed out.

The government did not find time to talk to publishers

“This protest appeared because there was great indignation resulting from the fact that any attempt at dialogue on the part of publishers and journalists fell into a vacuum. The Ministry, the Sejm, the government – a vacuum. Deputy Prime Minister Krzysztof Gawkowski found time to meet with Google, for example, and went to the United States. Politicians found time to talk to them, but not to publishers,” he said. He emphasized that “the cup overflowed and publishers said: “Enough, you have to finally listen to us, because the law is to be passed for us, not for two large global corporations,” Andrysiak emphasized.

“If there is a portal that has a hundred thousand unique users in a district with a hundred thousand residents, then that is 100 percent coverage. However, it is not able to cover any reasonable level of costs from programmatic advertising, i.e. the one offered by Google and which claims that it shares money with publishers,” noted Andrzej Andrysiak. He added that the journalist produces, people learn about what he has produced from the search engine, but the editorial office gets nothing from it. He pointed out that all portals have the same problem.

Duopoly on the market

The publisher pointed out that the implementation of the EU directive appeared in such a formula that local publishers have no chance of “any reasonable agreement” with Google. “Of course, this agreement will be negotiated by the association or rights management organizations, and not by each publisher individually. However, there is no tool that we could use to force Google to even end these negotiations,” he pointed out.

In his opinion, this is crucial, because there is a duopoly on the market. “70% of revenue from online advertising goes to two global companies, and 30% remains for everyone, including large and small portals, for stores – simply for everyone. A portal at the local level can have huge reach in its area, but with such a number of users, it will not be able to earn reasonable money to be able to produce information,” Andrysiak explained.

The scale of the protest

He pointed out that the scale of the protest shows that this issue is extremely important to publishers. “Yesterday we reported that 360 local publishers had joined the protest. I am constantly receiving information that it will soon exceed 400. This shows how much interest there is from small local publishers,” he emphasized.

He pointed out that “everyone is small compared to Google, even Onet and Wirtualna Polska”“If there is no mechanism that will force Google to have some kind of a whip over itself to end the negotiations, then it will be able to conduct these negotiations as much as it wants. I will not sue Google. I am not a scared person, but I am not stupid enough to go to court with Google, because none of the publishers have a chance,” he said. (PAP)

Author: Anna Kruszyńska


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