The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Google, Facebook, Twitter owe Swiss journalists millions

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 25 May 2023
The Swiss government announced this week that Internet titans such as Facebook, Twitter and Google owe Swiss media companies millions in compensation for posting their articles online.
Google, Facebook, Twitter owe Swiss journalists millions
The Google homepage in Switzerland in 2019 (Keystone SDA).

Google, Facebook and Twitter owe Swiss media companies millions in compensation for posting their articles online, the Swiss government announced Wednesday.

More on the announcement

According to the Swiss government, when articles show up in search engines or on social media sites the websites benefit from the work of other journalists, but they are not compensated.

“For example, if a major search engine shows excerpts from newspaper articles in its search results, the online service should pay a fee for this in future,” the government stated on Wednesday. “At present, media companies and journalists do not receive any remuneration from online service providers that use their works.”

The decision follows a similar one made by the EU last year when it adopted new, groundbreaking copyright rules. In 2022, Google agreed to pay more than 300 EU publishers for using their content.

Google, Facebook, Twitter owe Swiss journalists millions
Google’s Zurich offices (Keystone SDA).
Google may owe $166M

The Swiss government has recommended that companies with an annual average number of consumers equivalent to 10% of the Swiss population (about 900,000) should be required to make payments. As far as how much the companies owe, the Swiss government is still figuring out what the tab may come to.

In theory, Google may owe Swiss publishers CHF154 million ($166 million) per year, according to a report from the German publishers’ association Schweizer Medien.

Read more: 500 Swiss Google employees on strike

“The additional income for media companies and media professionals cannot be estimated at the moment, as this depends on the negotiations between the collecting societies and the user associations,” the Swiss government said.

Swiss Parliament will vote on an amendment to the existing copyright act following a deliberation period. Parliament will propose a collection agency to represent the Swiss publishers and journalists affected.

This article may be freely shared and re-printed, provided that it prominently links back to the original article.

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