More and more people are obtaining news from sources other than newspapers. Ads are migrating to the Internet. Meanwhile, with its search engine and "Google News" site, the Internet giant Google is channeling access to the online offerings of newspapers, exploiting their content for free and skimming off advertising budgets. A number of traditional publishers feel that this can't go on much longer.

Attempts to directly monetize access to newspaper and magazine content on the Internet (e.g., via subscription systems) have shown their limits. Press websites can only be successfully disseminated nearly for free according to the business model of the Internet. Yet, this means that publishers, who create the basic conditions for the successful marketing of intellectual property through their economic activity, are left unpaid. Like other purveyors of works, who are already protected by neighboring rights (producers of sound recordings, broadcasters), publishers too depend on original protection of their organizational and publishing role.

Copyright protection of media products today is mainly restricted to individual articles and flows to the benefit of journalists. Media publishers do not have their own original property right. They are not able to take action against Internet providers who reproduce entire articles and provide them to readers, without even quoting a source. Publishers have difficulty defending themselves against numerous copy, research, information, and press clipping services that likewise collect media content using digital recording and transmission technologies and deliver them to end customers for commercial gain.

A diversified written press will only exist so long as media publishers can earn commercial profit for their financial and organizational activities. Publishers must also be placed in the legal position to defend their rights in the digital age. This requires recognition of the publisher's role by providing publishers their own original property right which enables them to enforce claims based on their own right or, vice versa, to make the licensing of the commercial use of their content contingent on remuneration, either directly or via performance rights societies.

You can access the original German version of the article published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung here.