The German politician Axel Voss is the negotiators from the European Parliament in the Reform of the copyright law. In an Interview with Golem.de he defended the plans for a European performance right, although he himself does not acknowledge that it was the best idea. A compulsory levy for Google, he does not exclude.
An Interview by Friedhelm Greis
A few weeks ago, the CDU has explained, politicians, Axel Voss, in an Interview with the magazine Focus its plans for a European intellectual property right. As negotiators from the European Parliament in the Reform of the copyright law he has to try to form out some very contradictory claims of the members of a majority capable of compromise.
His own group, the EPP, he has brought in last summer already on the line of German newspaper publishers, however, other groups reject the idea of a performance right. Because he showed in the Focus-Interview, a very idiosyncratic understanding of the Internet, we have to ask him directly why platforms like Google or Facebook will pay you to link articles from online media.
Golem.de: In a few weeks, the European Parliament on the introduction of a European ancillary copyright law for press publishers. Why are you defending as a negotiator for the Parliament, this idea, although the concept in Germany and Spain, has been proved not to work?
Axel Voss: I’m driven by this idea to say that democracy needs an independent press. And we must do something, if we are a free and independent press is still worth something. I’m not saying: The power of protection is probably not the best idea, but it is, I believe, the only one we have so far are on the table, in order to improve here somehow. Today, I have the feeling that a Axel-Springer-publishing house or a Germany or a Spain, are not on par with these global platforms, such as Google or Facebook. If we ever want to restore a eye-level, then this will only work together in Europe. Otherwise, they set it aside, pushing everything that stands in their way.
Golem.de: but There are publishers who make the leap into the digital age managed. The Axel-Springer-Verlag, the most committed to the vehemently in favour of the performance right, has made in the past year, 300 million Euro profit. Why does this publishing house, nor money from Google?
Voss: I see the independent press not so, regardless if you are from a major search engine or other platforms, depending on the will, in any supposedly good business models goes into it and in the end, but still open to blackmail.
So far, the financial security was given by advertising revenue somehow. The break is now completely gone. The major platforms are pushing with always other and new business models everywhere, between the company and the customer and to offer any Services, and then continue the control over all what happens there.
Golem.de: Is the not fault of the publishers themselves, if you are not a digital business model? And by the search engines, you get Traffic to generate advertising revenue.
Voss: I don’t feel that the advertising market in the meantime, a real competition. There is only the competition of the Great. Therefore, from my point of view is a bit so that you understand it better, the users of attract, and therefore also the advertising to get revenue.