Chronicle of the largest internet theft ever perpetrated
There are two theories that strive to establish themselves in the explanation of the immense space that separates the evolution of technology and the internet and the discourse and decisions of the majority of politicians. On the one hand, we have the idea that they are from another generation, unable to catch up - or disinterested at least - and tending to take refuge in the worldview they know and with which, until now, they have done so well.
On the other hand, we have a more prosaic theory, rather than the absence of an idea of the internet, technology and innovation, what we have before us is the conscious and determined opposition to change. The conscious or not presumption that there will be time for that which is as scary as the future is. In view of the process that has led to the approval of the intellectual property reform - pending final approval in the Senate - I would not rule out that both (being ignorant and reactionary) were valid.In this case, what is posed by the government is a scenario in which intermediaries would have no way to escape payment, even if they did not link to AEDE media. "Creators" also cannot give up income.
The surprise Canon that was not in the pools
Days before the government released the hare from the Canon AEDE, Google had some reassurance about what was to come. Sources close to the search engine company confirm that they had him tied, the new reform of intellectual property was going to toughen all fronts but was going to leave them out. When it is explained that the government wants to bring the fee to the aggregators that has already been tried in other European countries but hardened, Google is left out of the game.
And it is that unlike Germany, the media group that presses to achieve this legislation - AEDE - manages to add the "inalienability" to avoid what fell by its weight: if Google has to pay to link from Google News to a half, it is enough with removing it and that this one, seeing the traffic that suddenly loses, requested to return to enter accepting not to receive.
In this case, what is posed by the government is a scenario in which intermediaries would have no way to escape payment, even if they did not link to AEDE media. Even if you are a blog or media that renounces income, which you license with creative commons, the new law states that you need protection from powerful intermediaries.They ignore something that does not enter their calculations, no matter how much they fill their mouths with the words "entrepreneurs", "innovation", "new model of economy": they are leading a Spanish project like Menéame that is great in traffic and relevance, much weaker in income (do you have to go to another country?) and nip in the bud any local innovation that wants to compete with the big aggregators in other countries.
As the text that has been voted today points out, Google News is clearly in that role of intermediary, but not Google as a search engine - more on this a little later - but platforms such as Menéame, Flipboard, RSS readers also fit, Twitter and Facebook.
Most media and Google vs. powerful media
Listening to the spokespersons of the parties and their amendments, it is not surprising that almost none of them has echoed a fundamental point in the debate around this law: the vast majority of the media are against it.The difference between the debate on previous laws (the original canon for the supports, the LSSI, the Sinde law) and that of the Canon AEDE is palpable. The response from the Internet has been much more timid and minority, something that is explained by "what is falling"
Around the AEPP the Pro Internet Coalition is forged. It includes most of the Spanish print media - the smallest, the large provincial press among them - and the group of new digital media with the largest audience, 20 Minutos, Weblogs SL (Xataka editor), the ADSLZone group, Hipertextual ... Menéame and Google. Facebook and Twitter ignore all the calls that we have made to join them and make a common front.
What is the Pro Internet Coalition doing in recent months? On the one hand, it tries to communicate to society and the media the reasons why it is against this new canon for linking; on the other, it is lobbying, trying to sit down with all the parties to take into account their opinion of why this law is disastrous despite the fact that, in theory, it benefits by giving income to many actors integrated into the coalition.
He also commissioned a study to try to anticipate the economic impact of the royalty. The result of all this activity could not be more discouraging, nor does the subject matter to an important sector of society, nor does its lobbying capacity approach one thousandth of that shown by the groups that publish the most widely used newspapers. they are inside AEDE. We did not play like never, but we did lose as always.
A great time to pass a law like this
Part of the coalition's failure - although good, we have the Senate left, rarer things have been seen - is attributable to the excellent moment chosen for approval. In the media part, a long-standing crisis is conjugated, due to the transition to digital and accelerated by the economic crisis, which has led to multimillion-dollar losses, ERES and an almost desperate search for new income.
On the government side, the management of a crisis that they are unable to tackle amidst a thousand controversies with corruption, dozens of cuts, unfulfilled electoral promises and the emergence of new political actors (15M, Podemos) who want to see more controlled. Is there causality between this law and the desire for a less aggressive press in its criticism? Here let me play the public wildcard and leave the answer on your side.
But the difference between the debate on previous laws (the original canon for the supports, the LSSI, the Sinde law) and that of the Canon AEDE is also palpable. The response from the Internet has been much more timid and minority, something that is explained by "what is falling." With problems such as cuts in health and education, endemic unemployment, corruption, evictions and even poverty, it seems frivolous for many to debate or answer a law that seems to refer to the fact that some companies pay others and citizens do not it affects.
Finally, there is an easy speech to and from politics. We are going to subtract money from outside companies (Twitter, Google, Facebook), which thanks to their financial engineering do not pay taxes in Spain and we are going to give it to "important creators for democracy". It is so easy and popularizable that it fits even in a tweet, although in the process they avoid something that does not enter their calculations, no matter how much they fill their mouths with the words "entrepreneurs", "innovation", "new model of economy": They lead a Spanish project like Menéame, big in traffic and relevance, much weaker in income (do you have to go to another country?) and cuts off any local innovation that wants to compete with the big aggregators from other countries.
A probable hypothesis: Google will not pay and the media will not get its 80 million euros
80 million euros is the figure that AEDE hopes to collect that has circulated in the sector. Let's play with a hypothesis: the Senate endorses the law as it is and aggregators continue to function and pay. How is this distributed? Of course, AEDE has a plan: who distributes and with what criteria to maximize income. In fact, taking a look at the 20 groups with the most audiences in Spain certified by Comscore, a "curious" photo appears, even more curious when many of these groups group activities not compensable by the canon, such as those classified.
The use of a rights manager also has the "advantage" that it also manages the amounts of the unaffiliated. Do you have the right for your blog or media to this payment for being linked but you do not claim it or do not participate in the manager? Nothing happens, they already collect it for you and manage it for you.And Google is not going to pay because, in addition to an easy way out, the last thing it would look for is to set a precedent that the rest of the countries would see as something accepted by them. Those who do not have it easy are Twitter and Facebook, those who curiously have ignored the fight around this law, and who would be interesting to know if they have a plan in mind to avoid payment.
But the probable hypothesis is that Google is not going to pay. It is easy for them to solve closing Google News. In fact, the greatest value given by Google News is that of enhancing real-time search when great news occurs in the general search engine, which in this law is not paid for per link.
And Google is not going to pay because, in addition to an easy way out, the last thing it would look for is to set a precedent that the rest of the countries would see as something accepted by them.Those who do not have it easy are Twitter and Facebook, those who curiously have ignored the fight around this law, and who would be interesting to know if they have a plan in mind to avoid payment.
In any case, AEDE always wins with this law, whether aggregators pay or not. The trick is that, penalizing the link, penalizing the aggregators, the path of discovery of new media and broadcasters outside the traditional ones is punished. How have media like El Condidencial, El Diario or Weblogs SL grown? With Google, with Menéame, with links to blogs and with links by your readers on social networks.
If you penalize and minimize this path of discovery, you achieve a beneficial effect for the traditional medium: from that moment on, the brand is worth much more, sounding well-known to the public and cutting off the brand creation of these other new media. Whether they pay or not, AEDE intends to always win with this law.
Don't go yet: it's worseNeither deep down do I think this is reasonable nor in the forms, penalizing the link, making it a danger and ruining the right of appointment that is mortally wounded.
I think that by now I will have noticed my non-neutrality with respect to this law despite the fact that my company, Weblogs SL, was a priori beneficiary of the fee to the aggregators. As one of the founders and director of strategy of this house from minute one I have identified it as a danger no matter how much he has invited us to enjoy the banquet: it is the next step on a path to subvert the open space of competition and dissemination of information that has been so far.
With this website we have been born, we have grown and we would like to continue being there. In fact I do not deny the greatest, what has allowed the internet with the lowering of the barrier of entry is an explosion of emitters that we have already seen with forums, blogs and new media and that has continued with video and social networks. And in this scenario, those who earn the most money are intermediaries, aggregators capable of making life easier for users with a balance between noise discovery and management.
The web is a much better business for Google, Twitter, Facebook than for the media. The weight in the value chain has shifted from "the creators" to these new intermediaries who have snatched - especially Twitter, Facebook and Menéame - being the cover for information to the media that for a long time have been increasingly fighting for be part of it.
I do not think that this should be remedied, however much it leads us to conclude that doing media is not going to be the great business of the Internet while others are. Neither deep down do I think this is reasonable nor in the forms, penalizing the link, making it a danger and ruining the right of appointment that is mortally wounded.
With all this we lose much more than AEDE (with some honorable exceptions such as the newspaper El Mundo), the government and most of the opposition have tried to make us believe. If something exceptional has happened in recent years in this society in addition to the blow of the crisis, it is that the citizenry has been able on its own and without the tutelage of traditional structures - large media, parties, unions - to put issues on the public agenda, organize more and better, take their claims to the streets and create new structures.
That is why I have allowed myself to play with the owner of this article. There is no theft to the internet, because "the internet" is not a subject, nor is there a single "logic or nature" of the internet or even something similar. There is a theft from society, from citizens, from all of us who have known the network as an instrument that has helped us to be more and better citizens. We have lost, once again, perhaps we can console ourselves with the winners, one day, paying it off.
Bonus track, some links to other media - now that it is still free - that have also followed and analyzed the perpetration of this reform: Carlos Otto in the Confidential, the coverage in Genbeta led by María González, Vicente Lozano and Ricardo Galli from El Mundo, great coverage also from ElDiario.es, Antonio Delgado, Arcos and Lacort in Alt1040, ADSL Zone, Pilar Portero in the huffpo .... I am sure that many will leave me. Feel free to add them in the comments, no one will denounce you, for now.
Images: Informa Board, Horia Varlan, Ministry of Culture, La moncloa