Saturday 24 November 2012

French minister of culture speaks of Google, Amazon and Loi Hadopi

Aurélie Filippetti
Earlier this week Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera featured an interview with French minister of culture Aurélie Filippetti
As her surname clearly suggests, Mme Filippetti is of Italian descent. This week she was in Umbria to attend some celebrations in honour of her grandfather Tommaso, who left Italy after WWI to work as a miner, first in Luxembourg and then in France. 
Corriere secured an interview with Mme Filippetti prior to her arrival in Italy. On that occasion, the Minister had the chance to clarify France's position as regards topics which are of sure interest to Google, Amazon, copyright enthusiasts and users of copyright-protected materials alike. 
As was reported by The 1709 Blog last month, France is thinking of following Germany and adopt a piece of legislation which would require news aggregation sites such as Google News to pay royalties on the newspapers' snippets and headlines that they display. As readers will remembers, Google is not particularly happy about this, and has indeed threatened to exclude French media sites from search results if France goes ahead with plans to make search engines pay for content. While the overall situation is heating up in Europe, in Brazil 154 members of the Brazilian National Association of Newspapers have already opted out from Google News. 
En garde Googlé!
Filippetti highlighted that culture is one of the most important resources to European economies and it would be foolish not to develop and sustain it. Hence, if by the end of this year French, Italian and German publishers do not achieve an agreement with Google, in January 2013 France will adopt a law which would require Google to pay royalties on the contents displayed on its News service. The underlying idea is that those who profit from the distribution of contents must also contribute economically to their creation. If this is true for TV networks, the same should apply also to providers, websites and digital platforms, said the Minister.
Not the kind of dumping
Amazon is interested in 
Filippetti also spoke of how internet giants like Amazon are threatening traditional publishers, eg Gallimard. She claimed that, although it is likely that Amazon will soon have a super-dominant position in Europe, the Commission does not seem to care. This is because this seems more interested in contrasting certain behaviours of small publishers who are just trying to cope with Amazon's threatening presence, rather than enquiring on Luxembourg-based giant whose business model is based on distance sales and unacceptable fiscal strategies involving price distribution dumping.
Mme Filippetti also spent a few words on controversial Loi Hadopi (on which see here, here, here, here ...), and said that the fight against piracy is best served not by laws like Hadopi, but by the development of fully licensed services such as Spotify and Deezer, although the royalties currently paid by these services are too low and should be increased.
Following this interview, there seems to be a lot to think about, as those addressed by Mme Filippetti are all topics which are currently at the centre of attention a bit everywhere in Europe ... What do readers think?

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