The proposals aren’t just bad for Google, but for everyone, David Meyer argues in Fortune.
The proposals, argues Meyer, would allow publishers to try wrangling fees out of others for any “use of the work”—a dangerously vague term in this context. What’s more, they’d get to do so for a whopping 20 years after publication.
It’s hard to know whether the large press publishers who lobbied so hard for these measures really think Google will ultimately pay up, or whether their real goal is what happens when it refuses.
Because Google surely won’t pay for indexing their content or reproducing snippets of their text. It can’t—that would be the beginning of the end of its entire search engine business model, which can no longer scale if its links come with a cost.
The other major flaw in the new proposals would also be bad news for smaller players, and for the rights of the public.
Under the e-Commerce Directive of 2000, the operators of user-generated content platforms—YouTube and SoundCloud and the like—are not liable for the content their users upload, as long as they take down the illegal stuff once someone flags it. That directive also explicitly says there can be no laws forcing platforms to generally monitor the content they manage.