The Danish parliament is set to discuss a bill proposing that tech giants such as Facebook and Google pay the country's media for using their content.
The proposal will effectively grant rights holders, such as musicians or media outlets, a new publishing right which will enable them to decide who can and cannot use their content. This will result in tech giants requiring permission to use the content online.
According to the proposal, platforms that are used to share media, including YouTube, will be obligated to make agreements with rights holders in order to display videos or music, the Ministry of Culture said in a statement.
“The media plays a central role in our democracy and ensures that public debate takes place on an informed basis,” Culture Minister Joy Mogensen said in a statement. “If the media are to be able to continue making journalism, they should of course be paid for its use.”
In an interview with the newspaper Berlingske, the culture minister argued that Google and Facebook have gained “exceptionally great power” that must be limited. The bill put forward by Mogensen will allow Danish media to conclude collective agreements with the tech companies providing for payment whenever their content is used.
“We have wanted to be able to enter collective agreements with tech giants because that would strengthen the media companies’ position”, Danske Medier CEO Louise Brincker told the newspaper Berlingske.
If approved by a parliamentary majority, the bill will become law on 7 June.
A comparable law recently came into force in Australia, resulting in all news pages being temporarily blocked by Facebook. In the aftermath of the dispute, Danish Culture Minister Joy Mogensen questioned the “democratic mindset” of tech giants that block media for demanding payment for sharing their content and suggested that they either “don't understand” or “don't care about” the importance of news media in a democratic society.
An interest for similar legislation has been expressed in neighbouring Sweden, which intends to regulate the relationship between media and IT companies and strengthen the position of online newspaper publishers by giving them exclusive rights to their publications, as well as Canada and the UK.