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New European publishing rules could cost Google and Facebook

New European rules are to be proposed that aim to strengthen the rights of traditional media companies, giving them more power to demand payment from the likes of Google and Facebook.

According to a recent report, online platforms such as Facebook will suck £450 million out of the UK news industry over the next decade and new European Commission (EC) reforms will aim to shore up the industry and protect publishers from collapsing revenues.

In its draft proposals, the commission says that “the sustainability of publishing industries in the EU may be at stake, with the risk of further negative consequences on media pluralism, democratic debate and quality of information.”

As online giants such as Facebook and Google have continued to generate growing advertising revenues, the EC has faced increasing pressure to level the playing field for those who create and invest in original content. One of the proposed rules covers something known as “neighbouring rights,” where publishers have "the exclusive right to make their content available to the public, and to reproduce it for digital purposes."

An EC spokesperson said: “Neighbouring rights are attributed to those that assist in making the original author’s work available to the public at large, for example performers, producers and broadcasters. The commission is considering whether to grant such rights to news publishers.

"It would recognise their role as investors in content and give them a stronger position when negotiating with other market players.”

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