Switzerland’s central bank has said it wants changes to copyright laws that require major internet service providers – including social media and search engines – to pay media companies to use content, even small content.
GENEVA — Switzerland’s central bank has said it wants changes to copyright laws that require major internet service providers – including media platforms and search engines – to pay media companies to use their content, even small pieces known as “snippets”.
The Federal Council, Switzerland’s highest body, announced on Wednesday that it has opened a four-month trial on proposed legal changes to compensate journalists and their media companies.
The government saw the importance of public discussion in a democracy, which has now become more and more accessible on the Internet.
“The information provided by search engines, social networks and multimedia is derived from the journalistic activities carried out by traditional media,” the government said.
It also stated that media and media companies do not receive any payment from internet service providers that use their service. The setting of such payment rates should be done among the industry players.
“The Federal Council considers that major Internet service providers should pay media companies for using tricks,” the government said. “For example, if a major search engine displays news articles in its search results, the internet service provider will have to pay a premium for this in the future.
Only the largest online services – those that attract several users a year which amount to about 10 percent of the Swiss population – are required to pay compensation. The population of Switzerland was about 8.8 million at the end of last year.
The Swiss government introduced changes abroad, including directives from the European Union – which does not count Switzerland among its 27 member states – that helped media companies protect their interests in online services.