Danish media team up to forge copyright deals with Google and Facebook

Denmark's main media outlets said on Monday that they are banding together to negotiate copyright payments for news content used by tech platforms such as Google and Facebook.

Danish media team up to forge copyright deals with Google and Facebook
Politikens Hus, the headquarters of the Politiken newspaper. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

In 2019, an EU directive gave media rights to be compensated for links to their content by web giants in order to ensure better compensation for creators of news content.

France was the first to incorporate this right into national law, but so far only a few French media have reached bilateral deals with Google on so-called “neighbouring rights”.

In Denmark, nearly all media including the public TV stations have joined together to negotiate collectively.

“The collective bargaining organisation can give the Danish media industry bigger bargaining power,” said Stig Ørskov, CEO of JP-Politikens Hus, the leading Danish print media group.

“Often the big techs sign non-transparent separate agreements, they use a divide and conquer strategy and what we hope to achieve is a collective agreement that will be beneficial for the whole industry,” Ørskov told AFP.

The collective bargaining organisation will be officially launched on Friday and Oerskov said he expected negotiations to begin soon as informal contacts with Google have already taken place.

“Our main request is for big tech companies to pay a fair share (of the cost) of the news content created by Danish media they use and take advantage of,” said Ørskov.

Google and Facebook fought the creation of neighbouring rights in Europe, saying the use of snippets of news stories on search results and news pages helped send readers to the sites of media outlets.

News media, on the other hand, said Google and Facebook had sucked most ads away from them, and that they received no compensation for the use of the snippets although tech platforms generated advertising revenue by using them.

Google told AFP it would respect the decision of Danish media to negotiate collectively.

“We will respect the way that Danish publishers choose to negotiate, and have already offered to start discussions with them, with the goal of reaching fair and reasonable agreements in line with the law,” the company said.

AFP is currently in negotiations with Google over neighbouring rights.

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Denmark’s toy giant Lego offers staff bonus after bumper year

Danish toymaker Lego, the world's largest toymaker, Denmark's Lego, said on Tuesday it will offer its 20,000 employees three extra days of holiday and a special bonus after a year of bumper revenues.

Lego is rewarding staff with a Christmas bonus and extra holiday after a strong 2022.
Lego is rewarding staff with a Christmas bonus and extra holiday after a strong 2022. File photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

Already popular globally, Lego has seen demand for its signature plastic bricks soar during the pandemic alongside its rapid expansion in China.

“The owner family wishes to… thank all colleagues with an extra three days off at the end of 2021,” the company said in a statement.

The unlisted family group reported a net profit of more than 6.3 billion Danish kroner (847 million euros) for the first half of 2021.

Revenues shot up 46 percent to 23 billion kroner in the same period.

It had been “an extraordinary year for the Lego Group and our colleagues have worked incredibly hard,” said the statement, which added that an unspecified special bonus would be paid to staff in April 2022.

Lego, a contraction of the Danish for “play well” (leg godt), was founded in 1932 by Kirk Kristiansen, whose family still controls the group which employs about 20,400 people in 40 countries.

READ ALSO: Lego profits tower to new heights as stores reopen