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Spain's Link Tax Taxes Journalist's Patience

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the seeing-read dept.

Government 113

rsmiller510 writes Spain's new tax on linking to Spanish newspaper articles is ill defined and short sighted and ends up protecting a dying industry, while undermining a vibrant one. In another case of disrupted industries turning to lawmakers to solve their problems, this one makes no sense at all, especially given the state of the Spanish economy and the fact that it comes 15 years too late to even matter. From the article: "While newspapers are at least partly correct to blame the Internet for their troubles, they should recognize that their own mismanagement also played a key role. Newspapers everywhere waited much too long to take the Internet seriously, and while virtually every surviving newspaper has a website now, they almost invariably treat those sites as a necessary evil, as something separate from the news collection and delivery that they do with print."

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The "dying industry"... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47600685)

...is "professional journalism", and the "vibrant one" comprises bloggerss, press releases and Google Adwords, yes?

While Spain has offered a fucking awful solution to the problem, the problem of the destruction of journalism is an extremely serious one and we should worry about it far more than we worry about protecting the freedom to destroy it.

Re:The "dying industry"... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47600831)

The destruction of journalism has little to do with the internet.
It's mostly down to everyone putting out company press releases like it was news.
If newspaper companies continued to do actual research and then require the same subscription for delivering a pdf to your inbox every day I think people wouldn't mind. The problem is that they release the same shit everyone does, and demand a premium for the right to read it.

They do mind. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601001)

If newspaper companies continued to do actual research ...

Like the Washington Post and New York Times?

....and then require the same subscription for delivering a pdf to your inbox every day I think people wouldn't mind.

Apparently, people do mind because those papers are hanging by a thread - well, the Washington Post got rescued by Jeff Bezos [google.com] .

People do not want real news. They want infotainment. And as far as news reporting, every web page has "free" ad serviced AP news - news.amazon.com, news.google.com, even the Economist.com gives you a couple of freebies.

Investigative journalism is pretty much left to documentaries and books; which may be for the best, actually. You really cannot understand an issue from a 30 second video segment or from a 500 word post.

Re:They do mind. (5, Interesting)

negablade (2745981) | about 3 months ago | (#47601091)

People do not want real news. They want infotainment.

Speak for yourself, bud. I want real news but I want news of interest to me. I don't care about sports, politics or what the latest celeb said or did. I want science and technology, and I have and would pay for that kind of news. Websites and RSS feeds allow people to pick what interests them. Print doesn't. Bring on personalised newspapers.

Re:They do mind. (0)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 3 months ago | (#47601309)

And you aren't willing to pay for it. You forgot to add that point. And that little point make a HUGE difference.

The whole point of journalism is that they cover everything then put it in sections and you read the sections you want. When you are no longer willing to pay for any of it and you restrict access to those that tailor it to your views you've just asked for infotainment and the ego stroking that comprises most "news" these days. Fox news is so successful (or was) precisely because it went full ego stroking and started telling their target audience exactly what they wanted to hear.

Re:They do mind. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601421)

And you aren't willing to pay for it. You forgot to add that point. And that little point make a HUGE difference.

What part of "I have and would pay for that kind of news" didn't compute?

Re: They do mind. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601573)

I think his point was that there also has to be journalists which work on fringe issues, and if everything has to be written as to have someone buy that particular story.
This might/will lead to journalists just focus on popular issues and hide incontinent parts as not to discourage people to buy it

Re:They do mind. (1)

sabri (584428) | about 3 months ago | (#47603841)

And you aren't willing to pay for it.

I'm willing to pay for good news. But, the last time I paid for a Newsweek and a Time Magazine before a flight, I got 45% ads and 25% useless content. Only 30% of the actual print was interesting to me. I'd be more than happy to pay double the price if that helps me get rid of the penile erection dysfunction ads on every other page (what the F that says about your reader base...)

Oh, and in other news: the US is now considering a DVD tax to support the 3.5" floppy industry.

ads paid for newspapers 30 years ago (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 3 months ago | (#47604779)

> And you aren't willing to pay for it. You forgot to add that point. And that little point make a HUGE difference.

That's not a difference between dead-tree news and online news. Thirty years ago, before the web existed, I learned that a newspaper which sold for 25 cents cost $1.25 to produce. Just the blank paper was about 26 cents. All of the news-gathering, printing, and distribution was paid for by ads, exactly like online news sources today.

The main point of the 25 cent charge was as a hit-counter. It assured advertisers that the papers weren't just being thrown in the dumpster by the printer, but that there was some subscriber actually receiving the paper. Today, advertisers can easily count how many people go to the exact page their ad is on, so they don't need to know how many subscribers a web site has. They can directly count how many times the ad is displayed, so there's no need to collect quarters as hit counters.

Re:ads paid for newspapers 30 years ago (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 2 months ago | (#47607759)

Also, note that one of a newspaper's cash cows was the Classified Ad section ("want ads").

For the younger folks who may not have gone through a newspaper, imagine Craigslist printed in small type on pages with multiple columns. Every advertiser paid something like a dollar or two for even a small listing, and there were a lot of people advertising that way. That used to go to newspapers almost exclusively, and it isn't coming back. There was no reason to link such ads with the newspaper except that the newspaper generally delivered very large numbers of copies in a small geographic area. Those have left the newspapers, and they aren't coming back.

Re:ads paid for newspapers 30 years ago (1)

Reziac (43301) | about 2 months ago | (#47608639)

First and foremost, Craigslist filled the need for an economical classifieds system... if it's free, no harm in trying it... so we did. Readers of classifieds naturally followed.

Speaking as one who used to rely on newspaper classifieds, the big reason private party ads in newspapers went away wasn't so much Craigslist, as that newspaper classifieds were increasingly expensive and increasingly had a poor ROI. $60/week for two lines (about 8 words) was typical. Yet ad response rates were dropping, far more than the decline in subscribership. I think a major factor was that as computerized layouts took over, line ads were buried in favor of more-profitable display ads. What no one can see in the clutter, no one responds to.

(Last time I used the L.A. Times, about 5 years ago, I spent $180 and got ZERO inquiries, never mind sales. Same ad I'd run occasionally for 20 years with good results was all of a sudden worthless.)

Re:They do mind. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47602069)

"Bring on personalised newspapers"... Yeah!, Right!!

Clearly you're an ingnoramous of the news industry. It takes teams of professionals to publish a good newspaper: Editors, copy editors, photographers, proofers, pre-press, etc. (I am not talking about the script kiddies setting up a blog).

If people don't want to pay $0.75 or so for a mass-produced newspaper with something for most (they try to be everything for everybody), how in the world will people pay for a "personalized newspaper"...?

It's a shame the destruction of journalism is happening right in front our very eyes....

Re:They do mind. (1)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about 3 months ago | (#47602975)

He probably wasn't speaking for himself, but (sadly) for the majority of the public. For those of us that like the print, magazines are specialized enough to at least offer a higher density of interesting material.

Re:They do mind. (2)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 3 months ago | (#47604821)

NYT version of actual research: Did Obama issue it? Yes, must be true.

Re:They do mind. (1)

micahraleigh (2600457) | about 2 months ago | (#47607479)

I just don't want pre-masticated opinions mixed in with reporting.

I agree on the investigative journalism part, though.

You'd think someone would get around to finding out what happened in Benghazi.

"Journalists" have destroyed themselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47600963)

All the hackery that claims to be news is what's done the damage.

If the New York Times or Fox News weren't blatant cheerleaders this wouldn't be a problem. And they're not the only ones.

Re:"Journalists" have destroyed themselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601663)

Nor are they the most blatant... I am looking at you MSNBC.

Re:"Journalists" have destroyed themselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601777)

Well, Cryin' Glen Beck is making the rounds wearing a hair shirt and begging forgiveness for being part of "tearing the country apart".

And he's all hurt inside and tearful that people are mean to him when he walks down the street. Boo fucking Hoo you little drug-addled, right-wing shill of a creep.

The term "Useful Idiot: applies SO well there.

Re:"Journalists" have destroyed themselves (1)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 3 months ago | (#47603277)

Journalists didn't destroy themselves. You and I did that.

News is a revenue stream and stuff that makes money survives.

You and I decide what makes money. If we aren't interested in a story, it dies.

Also, we want free stuff. Advertisement is not enough to support news and reporters. Because of that, news comes from just a few sources (AP and Reuters, etc.) and the "entertainment news" channels in all media pick that up, word for word.

So, we don't want news. We just want to bitch.

Re:The "dying industry"... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601243)

If the farking newspaper industry had woken up (not that they have yet) and created a presence on the Internet that mirrors their print publications 15 years ago, then the advertising revenue they would have gained would have kept them vibrant journalistic publications. After all, newspapers have NEVER made a dime on their print issues, except via advertising. Eyeballs == profits. It's too bad they forgot this maxim of news publishing. :-(

Re:The "dying industry"... (1)

stoatwblr (2650359) | about 2 months ago | (#47611005)

"After all, newspapers have NEVER made a dime on their print issues, except via advertising."

The price of a newspaper has traditionally reflected the cost of the actual paper it contained. (it also discourages littering - people are more careful with things they pay for)

Which makes the issue of charging extra for online access somewhat odd.

Re:The "dying industry"... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47601287)

The ugly bit is that (while most online 'journalism' is even worse than the printed flavor or propped up by it) the internet doesn't need to do any journalism to make newspapers financially problematic.

Unless all the ads are just for show and subscriptions and purchases actually fund the operations, simply getting hammered by online mechanisms that do nothing but classified ads or job searches, or theater tickets, or all the other bits and pieces that used to be something you'd check the newspaper for could be enough by itself.

Online delivery of news is pretty tepid (at best, it's a straight copy of what gets printed in a nice machine readable format); but the various ancillary functions? Game Over Man. Game Over. Not only cheaper; but typically better as well. This unbundling of what used to be profitable items in a paper is something that laws of this flavor, based on the premise that internet copying is killing journalism, won't have an effect on (since these various non-news services don't have any need to copy newspaper material, they just replace it); and is also something that attempting to compete with the internet on quality won't change(since none of these promise news of any quality as a feature).

Re:The "dying industry"... (1)

stoatwblr (2650359) | about 2 months ago | (#47611027)

"Unless all the ads are just for show"

Going back 25 years again - the company I owned ran a 3 month newspaper campaign - it cost us about $2500 and picked up 3 extra sales.

We got 200 extra sales with 1 afternoon of local AOR station radio advertising that cost about $80

We also discovered that a single $5 ad in the classified of the "serious" papers got more sales than a 1/4 page ad in the front 4 pages or back 3 pages of the "popular" ones (Each classified ad would pick up about 20 sales)

Newpapers were dying as a medium long before the Internet came along - TV did most of the damage already.

Not dying, just changing (2)

sjbe (173966) | about 3 months ago | (#47601305)

the problem of the destruction of journalism is an extremely serious one and we should worry about it far more than we worry about protecting the freedom to destroy it.

Journalism is not being destroyed. Journalism as we once knew it is being destroyed but that is a very different thing. It's being replaced by something different because the business model that it used to depend on is under attack. Newspapers and TV stations depended on local monopolies based on the expense of distributing information and they were absurdly profitable for a long time. The internet and other forms of media have knocked much of that pricing power away and now for the first time in a long time they are having to compete. Journalism may never again be as profitable as it once was but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Ad sponsored journalism always had a built in conflict of interest even when they were scrupulous about keeping the business and content separate.

Re:Not dying, just changing (1)

ehynes (617617) | about 3 months ago | (#47602059)

Ad sponsored journalism always had a built in conflict of interest even when they were scrupulous about keeping the business and content separate.

Do you seriously believe that the "new" journalism isn't ad sponsored. What, other than ads, do they have as a source of funding? At least the "old" journalism could get some revenues directly from their readers. The "new" journalism, not so much.

Things will be different - ads included (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 3 months ago | (#47602643)

Do you seriously believe that the "new" journalism isn't ad sponsored.

Some is and some isn't. I'm not for a moment claiming ad revenue is going away (far from it) but the revenue sources are and I think will continue to become much more diverse. The companies getting the big ad revenues are companies like Google which are not media focused rather than the New York Times. The company that controls the platform is separating from the company (or people) that generate the content. Furthermore you have things like Twitter and Facebook that are essentially a form of citizen reporting that was not remotely possible previously. The platforms are often (though not always) ad sponsored but the actual journalism often isn't. This disintermediation is going to be very interesting to watch. You'll see some newspapers but less of them. You'll see broadcast TV subsumed into the internet. You'll see alternative funding methods actually gain traction as we move from a broadcast model to a social network model. Some things won't change but a lot will.

What, other than ads, do they have as a source of funding?

Subscriptions, direct fundraising (ala NPR), philanthropic grants, crowd sourcing, paywalls, and cooperatives all come to mind. Ad revenue is relatively easy but it's hardly the only way to fund journalism. The alternatives might not be as profitable but that's a very separate problem.

At least the "old" journalism could get some revenues directly from their readers.

Circulation fees charged were tiny compare to the revenue brought in by ads. They sold the paper cheaply to bring the eyeballs to the ads. They transmitted the broadcast TV for free to get eyeballs to advertisers. Radio was 100% ad supported prior to satellite/internet "radio". Anyone who tried charging a subscription fee for any of those was basically undercutting themselves because people would rather put up with ads than actually pay out of pocket for information/entertainment. Subscriptions only worked for fairly specialized sources of information like topical magazines.

Re:The "dying industry"... (1)

Teun (17872) | about 3 months ago | (#47601639)

You are onto something but I don't see it quite as bleak.

Yes investigative journalism has disappeared from mainstream media but it's still available for those knowing the price of quality.

I don't know enough about Spain but in countries like The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark there is still a group of influential people willing to pay the price for quality papers, be it dead tree or digital.

The future will tell if this lasts but I am hopeful, I put my money where my mouth is and subscribe to such publications.

Those that want their 'news' for free are anyway lost to Fox News and the Daily Mail, the problem is because subtlety is lost on them they're likely to vote for the Putins, Palins or Wilders of politics...

Re:The "dying industry"... (1)

silfen (3720385) | about 3 months ago | (#47601871)

the problem of the destruction of journalism is an extremely serious one

Oh, I agree. I just hope we can overcome those problems and complete the destruction of journalism sooner rather than later.

Re:The "dying industry"... (1)

BadgerRush (2648589) | about 3 months ago | (#47602333)

You mention bloggers like it is a bad thing. Well, it is not, and here is why: Bloggers can't stand on their name, so their content (and their sources) has to speak for itself.

Before the internet people had to blindly trust their news sources. Journalists had their "laws" regarding sources and biases (e.g. require two independent sources, etc), and a good journalist could produce good content. Unfortunately the reader had no way of knowing if a particular journalist followed the "laws", we had to thrust the "name" of the newspaper or of the journalist, that is, thrust that the newspaper wouldn't risk muddling its name by not fact-checking everything.

Now, with the internet, most of the sources are as available to the readers as they are to the journalists. So the new journalists (bloggers) can cite their sources in their articles, and we the readers can check those sources and compare them to the journalist's conclusions. Suddenly a journalist's bias and incompetence is not hidden any more, any reader can "see how the sausage is made" and point out when it is wrong.

Unfortunately the internet is still riddled with journalists who "graduated" in the old world and refuse to cite sources, those grew up on a world where their sources where their business secret, something they had to protect from other journalists who might steal their story. Those don't realize that all the sources are just a google search away, and that the real differential they bring is the analysis of the sources. Personally, I assume that any article not citing its sources is either lying or has errors, and just dismiss it.

Re:The "dying industry"... (1)

matbury (3458347) | about 3 months ago | (#47603411)

Real journalism is dying without the help of the internet. The news that matters, the news that gets people's attention, the news that affects how people engage in civil society is TV news. It's all been Foxed. No more background, no more historical context, no more broader perspective, no more deep investigating unless it's on a celebrity or other public figure for a nonsense, inconsequential, personal interest piece.

Yes, newspapers are where most of our TV news originates but those are mired in conflicts of interest (Seen any objective, fact-based reporting from the middle east lately?) and balking away from running any stories that might upset sponsors or powerful people who can afford big lawsuits. Any news organisation that's funded by advertising or patronage (e.g. Washington Post and The Intercept) is, without a doubt, misleading the public not so much by the stories they do run but more by the stories they don't and you never get to hear about.

We need new ways to do news. Real investigative journalism is highly skilled and requires budgets to follow stories wherever they may lead. It needs sources of funds that aren't conditional on appeasing the rich and powerful. If we had real, meaningful news that told us about how the world really works and that empowered us, I think we'd be surprised about how interesting and engaging politics, law, and economics could be.

How we transmit/broadcast it is secondary, whether it be in print or electronic.

Re:The "dying industry"... (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 3 months ago | (#47605791)

...is "professional journalism", and the "vibrant one" comprises bloggerss, press releases and Google Adwords, yes?

Professional journalism was dying long before the internet. Papers were spewing out nothing but press releases and rebadged wire stories long before blogging became a thing. The very fact that the newspapers were offering basically nothing is what allowed blogs to eat their lunch so thoroughly.

Re:The "dying industry"... (1)

stoatwblr (2650359) | about 2 months ago | (#47610983)

25 years ago, most "journalism" in newspapers I was dealing with consisted of regurgiutating reuters word-for-word, or putting a reporter's name on press releases.

By comparison the Internet is a revelation. Not just because you can usually find reserach into what's in the news, but because you can also see behind the press releases and find what's being "spun"

To steal a line about Usenet: it's like watching a herd of performing elephants at times - capable of bombarding you with mindboggling amounts of excrement at times, but still a wonderous thing to behold.

I dont know about that (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47600741)

Of course it's a vibrant industry when you can make money using other people's content...not much overhead in that, is there?

A right to be remembered? (5, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 3 months ago | (#47600769)

The simplest course of action would be for the major search engines, i.e. Google (there are some others, I'm told) to simply cut those spanish newspapers out of it's web-crawlers and search functions. If there are no links to the newspapers in question, there can be no tax to pay.

If that means that the online versions of these publications simply cease to exist? Well, that's not the search engines' problem. Would the E.U. then have to instigate a new internet law, to force these sites to be crawled and to force the search engines to do the opposite of forgetting about E.U. citizens and actively "remember" about them.

I have the impression that the newspapers that were pressing for this law don't realise that, despite what they may think, they really are not in a position of power, apropos the internet.

Re:A right to be remembered? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47600803)

The proper way is to use robots.txt on the pages or sites to be blocked.

Re:A right to be remembered? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47600911)

They don't want their sites to be blocked.
They want their sites to be listed, and to be paid for the privilege of letting you list them.

Re: A right to be remembered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601469)

Sorry, but if your webserver returns data to me without requiring payment, the fault lies on your end, not mine.

Re:A right to be remembered? (1)

Reziac (43301) | about 2 months ago | (#47608679)

Would they expect to pay YOU to run an ad in the paper? No?? where's the difference??

Re:A right to be remembered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601505)

The proper way is to use robots.txt on the pages or sites to be blocked.

So... what about extending the robots.txt spec to allow sites to specify that you are welcome to crawl their content if you are willing to pay?

Then all search engines can decide if the value is worth the price.

And Spanish newspapers can determine what content to offer for free, what they want to be paid for.

Re:A right to be remembered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47602115)

Not all robots/spiders honor robots.txt.... You surely know that...

Re:A right to be remembered? (4, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | about 3 months ago | (#47601003)

I have the impression that the newspapers that were pressing for this law don't realise that, despite what they may think, they really are not in a position of power, apropos the internet.

They want money. Indeed, if I was google my first step would be to de-index those companies, completely. What happens when your traffic drops by 90% and your physical circulation numbers start dropping?

The proper way to go is the same as TV, radio, and yes, your printed copy - sell advertising so that every time somebody hits your paper they see them. If you're 'good', put the advertising on the same server as the content so ad blockers have a harder time blocking them; making YOUR advertising a selling point. Just don't get so annoying with it that the ad-blockers engage in an active campaign.

Re:A right to be remembered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601521)

But online advertising simply does not pay the bills of a functioning newspaper. My town of less than 100,000 had two competing newspapers 30 years ago with large staff. Now we're down to just one, and they are run by literally 9 people. There is only one person working in town covering local government. This is terrible, and we're not anywhere near a large enough community to support a profitable website. Fractions of pennies per ad view doesn't add up to much when you don't have a potential readership of millions even if you get every single person in your market. Newspapers need to sell copies to exist, and nobody has come up with a "disruptive" strategy that still has reporters paid to be out on the street reporting.

Re:A right to be remembered? (1)

silfen (3720385) | about 3 months ago | (#47601933)

My town of less than 100,000 ... This is terrible, and we're not anywhere near a large enough community to support a profitable website.

I subscribe to half a dozen publications, and they certainly are worth their money and making money on what they are doing. Obviously, people can make a living off journalism and publishing if they provide something readers want to read.

About $1/year/person pays for a good journalist and online publishing. If you can't get enough subscriptions sold to pay for that, well, perhaps you don't need a newspaper.

Re:A right to be remembered? (1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 3 months ago | (#47603143)

Back when your town had multiple papers they kept everyone fed by selling lots of ads. Classifieds, obits., etc. were huge money-makers. Actual journalism was a loss leader. The internet changed that by making it super-cheap to have classified ad-type websites. If everyone's using Craig's list for nominal fees then the newspaper simply won't get many classified ads.

So the technology has changed. We simply aren't gonna get a couple great investigative reporters hounding the Mayor in every little 100k area. Peop0le will still pay for news, but it's news they want NOW, such as reports on foreign affairs, or reports aimed at proving Obama is Hitler reborn/a god among men. Fox and MSNBC do better then CNN because this kind of reporting is incredibly cheap. You get a couple Media personalities to burn air-time blaming/praising Obama; then you get a small news organization. You send the news organization wherever the News is. You don't do the real journalist thing the BBC does, and have an actual correspondent in Zambia 24/7 reporting that a Monkey shit on the President in the middle of a press conference because that happens to be the least boring thing that happened in Zambia that week; you have a guy who spends a lot of time in African disaster zones and you send him to Zambia if something sufficiently disastrous were to happen. CNN is pretty bad about this. A lot of their Libya stories are actually reported by people currently in Baghdad, because the entire fucking organization only has one team that speaks Arabic and they have been moved to Baghdad.

This is one potential solution. The trouble is it's really easy to over-come. Google simply refuses to serve links that it has to pay money for. Now instead of having no classified ad money, and sharply reduced business ad money, the papers have none of either. Spain can try to play hardball about this, but unless the EU Bureaucracy gets involved Google will simply ignore that. Pulling out of Spain completely would probably be better for them then agreeing to pay papers for content.

The ideal solution would probably be a BBC-type system in more countries, particularly for local news. The BBC is funded by a special television tax paid by viewers. So perhaps if everyone in Spain had to pay $50 a year per internet-connected device, that would work.

I suspect nobody will try that. Going after google is a lot easier sounding, and even tho everyone knows it won't really work (Belgian papers actually won the right to these payments in Court already, and then immediately decided to stop using it because Google removed them from news searches) they'll waste at least a year trying to make it work. Then they'll blame big, bad google when it fails. Sio what's gonna happen is small towns will continue to be shittilly served by journalists, big towns (ie: NYC) will lose ever more journalism; and we'll just have to put up with a world where partisan hacks bitching at eachother = journalism.

Re:A right to be remembered? (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 3 months ago | (#47604311)

The ideal solution would probably be a BBC-type system in more countries, particularly for local news. The BBC is funded by a special television tax paid by viewers. So perhaps if everyone in Spain had to pay $50 a year per internet-connected device, that would work.

This is probably the best system as long as the government can't influence the public system. Here in Canada we have the CBC which does excellent journalism. The problem is that it is financed out of general funds and our current government hates them due to their breaking stories about corruption, unfair electioning and such so they keep cutting their budget and it is really starting to show.

Re:A right to be remembered? (1)

silfen (3720385) | about 3 months ago | (#47604805)

and we'll just have to put up with a world where partisan hacks bitching at eachother = journalism.

Where the hell does this idea come from that the old world of journalism was any good? What evidence is there that it was any good?

Re:A right to be remembered? (1)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 3 months ago | (#47601591)

As someone who has worked in the newspaper industry, the problem is that it's very hard to get advertisers online, and even harder to make money with an online newspaper. The problem is that the advertisers know how much power they have over the paper/website, and will exert it to the fullest extent they can, threatening to drop their ads if they don't get 100% of what they want.

For instance, the statewide paper in my state gets a lot of advertising from Sleepy's, a big national mattress chain. They used to run a "Consumer Watchdog" column once a week that mostly looked at businesses operating in the state - a lot of them were people complaining about their cell phone providers, which was fine because the papers had zero advertising (at the time) from Big Telco.

A few years ago, there was a scandal where a bunch of people claimed they bought mattresses at Sleepy's that were delivered containing bedbugs. I'm not sure if the allegations were true or not - there were at least five or six documented accounts of people buying these mattresses and the store refusing to do anything about it once the mattresses were delivered, which leads me to believe they were probably true, but who knows? The person who did the Consumer Watchdog column tried to do a story on it, which was immediately shot down because Sleepy's threatened to drop their advertising if the story came out. The reporter wound up getting fired, and released the story on his personal blog. With the Watchdog column gone, a few weeks later the paper started to get heavy advertising from Big Telco, who now did not have to deal with the Watchdog guy calling them every week about phone bills.

The problem is that when you run a newspaper, you don't run the newspaper - the advertisers are your gods and masters, and you have no say in the matter.

Re:A right to be remembered? (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 3 months ago | (#47601897)

The problem is that when you run a newspaper, you don't run the newspaper - the advertisers are your gods and masters, and you have no say in the matter.

Which of course makes the newspaper worthless to readers, who'll turn to online sources out of necessity. Let's face it: the industry is obsolete.

Re:A right to be remembered? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 3 months ago | (#47604655)

The problem is that when you run a newspaper, you don't run the newspaper - the advertisers are your gods and masters, and you have no say in the matter.

You have to avoid becoming dependent upon any one(or smallish cartel) of advertisers then.

Thought the comment elsewhere of a BBC style organization does seem to have some good points.

Re:A right to be remembered? (1)

alexgieg (948359) | about 2 months ago | (#47606559)

Here in Brazil the government is the hugest advertiser in most of printed media, to the point of paying for 12-page advertisement at the biggest weekly news magazines for weeks on end. It has progressively forbidden the most lucrative private market companies (tobacco, alcohol, and now going for toys) from advertising due to this or that feel good policy, and so there's no one out there with enough money to pay for their existence other than the government itself, either directly or indirectly through State run corporations. As such, except for one major magazine that still refuses to run government ads, all the others are very tame in criticizing the government. If they don't, any of the State corps threatens to stop advertising, and that'd cause it to go bankrupt.

As for this single independent major news magazine, it is constantly attacked by the governing party's militants as "serving the interests of capitalism".

So, either corporations, or the government. Unfortunately the third alternative, of fair priced, no-ads, fully independent, consumer (not corp- of gov-) serving news, and thus expensive but worth its value to those willing to pay, is almost unheard of.

Re:A right to be remembered? (1)

stoatwblr (2650359) | about 2 months ago | (#47611045)

Ad blockers exist because of noxious adverts (ESPECIALLY animated ones. Noisy flash-based ads are a fast way of getting me to move on quickly (never to return) and I doubt I'm the only one.). Putting them on the same server as the content won't slow Adblock Pro down by more than a couple of seconds while I tune the frames to kill.

Keep the adverts static and don't annoy me with them. Your content is hardly ever unique, so why should I bother with you if there's a paywall?

Murketers just "don't get it", but the fact that 90% of ad campaigns fail shows it's hardly a new phenomenon.

Re:A right to be remembered? (3, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 3 months ago | (#47601005)

"The simplest course of action would be for the major search engines, i.e. Google (there are some others, I'm told) to simply cut those spanish newspapers out of it's web-crawlers and search functions. If there are no links to the newspapers in question, there can be no tax to pay."
True but it would mean cutting off links to all spanish newspapers! The law makes the payment mandatory to prevent any forward thinking papers from having an unfair advantage.

Re:A right to be remembered? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601179)

Maybe they can pay google to list them.

Re:A right to be remembered? (1)

stoatwblr (2650359) | about 2 months ago | (#47611123)

Funnily enough I remember a similar impasse about 30 years ago in New Zealand

The music labels wanted TV stations to pay royalties for broadcasting top40 countdown and other music programs.

The TV stations all responded by shutting down their music programs. Music sales plummetted.

5 months later, Michael Jackson's "Thriller" aired - the first music video on TV for that entire period - and it _only_ aired because the music companies were desperate enough to buy prime time advertising space to play it.

Music companies leanred their lesson over that one - for about 15 minutes. the TV companies resumed their music shows, royalty free - and a few years later the music companies tried again.

Re:A right to be remembered? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47601487)

The law makes the payment mandatory to prevent any forward thinking papers from having an unfair advantage.

An obvious work around would be to start a Spanish language news website, covering Spanish news, but located outside of Spain. If you had no legal presence in Spain, you could even link to other Spanish news sites without paying the unenforceable link tax.

Re: A demonstration might be in order. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601861)

Don't de-index them! Instead do not provide any links from Google News, but every week send each paper a summary of how much traffic they might be missing because of this new google tax. Provide metrics for each search such as where their link would have ranked in the search list if it would have been provided. That along with the change in the news site's web traffic should allow them to figure out the economic impact of the law and what the loss of google directed traffic will cost them.

Re: A demonstration might be in order. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47602281)

"...That along with the change in the news site's web traffic should allow them to figure out the economic impact of the law and what the loss of google directed traffic will cost them."

The word you' re looking for is 'ransom note'.

Use the standard, Luke (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47600787)

Spain,

Meet robots.txt.
http://www.robotstxt.org/robotstxt.html

Require the newspapers to use the standard to block searching. Otherwise remove the web pages altogether to prevent sharing.

Problem solved.

Re:Use the standard, Luke (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601051)

Newspapers don't want to avoid their articles being linked.

They want them to be linked and also want to get paid for being linked.

Republicans Hate Obama because he is black! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47600793)

Is there anybody out there even pretending to pay attention to anything?

Our economy is truly a disaster. Welfare use up. Unemployment up. Crime up. We are literally being invaded by foreign nation states. I could go on and on about the real things that our government should be doing to benefit our society and our liberties.

But what do they actually do? Not just nothing, hell, if they would just do nothing we would be in pretty good shape.

They are working against us in every concievable way! Sin taxes on fucking SUGAR! This is the priority?

Good fucking god people, wake the FUCK UP!

We are being driven to ruin by the very people that the founders clearly knew we would have to face, and the very reason the BOR was created to protect against.

If they fail to do the constitutional duties that we all know they should be doing, PROTECT THE BORDER is job number 1, then they should all be removed from office, every dammned one of them.

No, ingoring border security is not enough! They are actuallly bringing Ebola patients in! And they stand around lecturing us about FUCKING SUGAR IN OUR DRINKS!

These fucks make Atlas Shrugged look like it was a documentary.

Oh yes, it was, I forgot, she wasn't writing about things she thought might happen, she was telling us what she saw happen in Russia and was waring us that it would happen here. Who the fuck knew that?

Hey you assholes, why don't you wake up from your Tumbler videos of the Kardashains asses or whatever the fuck it is and consider, just for the sake of fucking argument, for five fucking seconds, that Rand was actually spot on right in that book, and where that put you and your future? Huh? Do you even have the capacity to think that far out? Go on then you socialist scumbag fucksticks, take off your I Hate Bush T-Shirts for five seconds and wake up to the real world.

You are being lied to.

                Hey look!

                EBOLA TERROR AS PASSENGER DIES AT LONDON AIRPORT...

                http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ebola-terror-gatwick-passenger-collapses-3977051

                2nd American infected returns to USA Tuesday...

                http://news.yahoo.com/american-missionary-ebola-serious-condition-ahead-us-return-162134496.html;_ylt=AwrSyCUnt99TO1AAubLQtDMD

                Atlanta hospital receives hate mail...

                http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/atlanta-hospital-receives-hate-mail-for-treating-aid-workers-stricken-by-ebola-virus-9645199.html

                Residents Worried...

                http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2014/08/03/atlantian-concerned-ft-worth-doctors-ebola-spreading

                EMIRATES suspends flights...

                Panic grows as Nigeria doctor infected...

                http://news.yahoo.com/nigeria-says-doctor-treated-ebola-victim-contracted-virus-004047580.html;_ylt=AwrTWf3FsN9TMTsAroPQtDMD

                Sierra Leone's 'very essence' in danger...

                http://news.yahoo.com/ebola-hit-sierra-leones-very-essence-danger-president-130020519.html;_ylt=AwrTWfxQsd9T31IAoZHQtDMD

                Bodies dumped in street...

                http://www.breitbart.com/system/wire/ap_bae30c075dc9406ebb0baf0d173a6233

                FLASHBACK: From Pigs to Monkeys, Ebola Goes Airborne...

                http://healthmap.org/site/diseasedaily/article/pigs-monkeys-ebola-goes-airborne-112112

                Nah, nothing to worry about there. Let's bring in more poor and sick and gang banger drug dealers from some dammned third world shithole. Why the FUCK NOT?

Re: Republicans Hate Obama because he is black! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47600863)

Troll

Re: Republicans Hate Obama because he is black! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47600961)

Why do you hate our constitution?

Re:Republicans Hate Obama because he is black! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47600943)

You are a nut

Re:Republicans Hate Obama because he is black! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601157)

Is there anybody out there even pretending to pay attention to anything?
Something something border security
Something Atlas Shrugged something Ebola
You are being lied to.

And then a bunch of links to mainstream news articles. Are you saying all the Ebola article links are lies? Then why provide them?
If they are lies, then what is the Ebola truth? If the linked articles are the truth, then what are the lies that you are going on about?
What. Is it that you think we don't know?

Ebola outbreak (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47600879)

@BreitbartTexas Leaked CBP report shows entire world is exploiting open US borders
http://tinyurl.com/lw7y78u

This year alone (Jan thru mid July), caught sneaking across the border:

71 Africans from Ebola outbreak countries
1,443 Chinese nationals caught sneaking, 1,803 Chinese turned themselves in.
28 Pakistanis were caught sneaking, 211 Pakistanis turned themselves in
13 Egyptians caught sneaking, 168 turned themselves in.
4 Yemenis caught, 34 turned themselves in
4 Somalis caught, 290 turned themselves in

Republicans not being far to Obama (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47600907)

Because of a rumor that a store had shoes, people started lining up before dawn. Just as the sun came up, an official told the people in the line, which reached around the block, "There are not enough shoes for everybody. All Jews, get out of line and go home."

The Jews leave but more people are getting into line even faster. An official comes out and says, "There are not enough shoes. Only members of the Communist Party can remain in line." The line gets a little bit shorter but it still has not moved.

Around noon, an official comes out and says, "There are not enough shoes for everybody. Only veterans of the Great Patriotic War Against Fascism remain." More people leave the line.

Around 3:00 in the afternoon, an official comes out and says, "There are not enough shoes. Only veterans who have won the Order of Lenin can remain in line." Now there are only two old men left in line.

About 6:00 in the evening the official comes out and says, "There are no shoes. Go home."

The one old man looks at the other and says, "The Jews always get the best deal."

Thanks, Slashdot! (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 3 months ago | (#47600917)

...is ill defined and short sighted and ends up protecting a dying industry, while undermining a vibrant one. In another case of disrupted industries turning to lawmakers to solve their problems, this one makes no sense at all, especially given the state of the Spanish economy and the fact that it comes 15 years too late to even matter.

The dying industry tried to hide their biases. Thanks to this new and vibrant community of "editors" who don't care about silly things like journalistic integrity, it's easier than ever for me to just accept whatever outrage the media hands me.

Thanks, Slashdot, for enabling me to be the lazy American we all make fun of!

Holy Crap! A BAD tax? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47600941)

But what about public services? And "I like paying taxes"??

Slap a tax on interweb freetards and Shazam! That's no good! Look at all the bad stuff that terrible tax does.

Typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601089)

"In another case of disrupted industries turning to lawmakers to solve their problems..."

You messed up the prefix for that "rupted" word...

How many journalists does a world need? (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about 3 months ago | (#47601187)

The real problem here is that when an international story can be written up and covered effectively by a dozen people, there's no room for a thousand more. Hell, even if you allow for another dozen opinion mongers amongst the real journalists, you're still looking at information that only needs to be gathered and reported on *once*.

With as close to zero cost to transmit information as you can get, there's no longer the regional scarcity that could make each little town require it's own newspaper.

Local news becomes a niche item that is either done as a hobby, or barely covering the need for a single person's employment.

Re:How many journalists does a world need? (2)

lgw (121541) | about 3 months ago | (#47601247)

Investigative journalism is labor-intensive. Whether we end up calling the person doing that a "reporter" or a "blogger" doesn't matter - there's a market for it.

Re:How many journalists does a world need? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601513)

But one is legitimate and the other is a uneducated, unprofessional person with a bias. The difference between a reporter and a web logger (I refuse to use your made-up garbage word) is huge, and publishers have a responsibility to note the difference between the two.

Re:How many journalists does a world need? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 3 months ago | (#47602153)

There have been plenty of educated bloggers, and plenty of idiot journalists.

The difference between a reporter and a blogger is that a reporter tends to have the financial support needed to sustain long investigations and a better platform which to spew their news.

Re:How many journalists does a world need? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 3 months ago | (#47602427)

But one is legitimate and the other is a uneducated, unprofessional person with a bias. The difference between a reporter and a web logger (I refuse to use your made-up garbage word) is huge, and publishers have a responsibility to note the difference between the two.

Sure, the blogger is educated and often very fact-checked by his commenters, while the reporter has a journalism degree instead of an education and just makes shit up that never gets checked: sure we all know that. I was just being polite to the poor dinosaurs - no need to add insult to injury.

Re:How many journalists does a world need? (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about 2 months ago | (#47607905)

I agree with half of that - investigative journalism is labor-intensive, but there isn't enough of a market to support all the people who want to be *paid* to be investigative journalists.

Re:How many journalists does a world need? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 2 months ago | (#47609335)

There isn't enough of a market to support all the people who want to be paid for almost every kind of entertainment; heck, that's probably true for half of all career choices.

Newspapers are one of the most annoying blockers (4, Insightful)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 3 months ago | (#47601229)

About 15 years ago the term 'micro payment' showed up on the internet.
There where blog posts etc. proclaiming how the 'internet' will change if users, surfers, are able to purchase goods via micro payment solutions. The main problem for paying of small fees at that time was that the minimum fee tompay to a credit card company was somewhere around 3 dollars. So the smallest selling price for something was around 4 dollars. Lets come back to this a at the end of this post.

Suddenly, around 10 years ago companies, especially the online branch of traditional news papers, like http://www.spiegel.de/ [spiegel.de] decided, we indeed need micro transactions. Or the possibility to 'do micro transactions' .

Somehow they made a deal with the 'credit card companies' that they could now sell articles in their online store for 1.50 Euro. Only paying 1 Euro to the card company, wow! Micro payment. That did not work out that well.

Later, not sure what the price is now or if that option for payed browsing still exists on spiegel online, they dropped the price for users browsing an article to 50 cents!

Isn't that amazing (Steve Jobs :) ) ???

So, if I buy a magazine in paper form, and pay 4.00 Euros (the equivalent of 8 articles online payed) I can read something like 40 articles or minor reports and some jokes, a few letters to the editor etc. etc.

Erm ... so I want to save money, time energy, give more money to the publisher (who has not to pay for distribution, printing, billing etc.) and I get less?

Back to the introduction part: when the term micropayment was coined, perhaps 1995, we talked about prices of 1 cent per article. Not 150cents, not 50cents. We imagined that a user had a contract with a search engine or with his ISP. That he would pay e.g. a yearly fee to use that engine, perhaps 30dollars, that is 30cents per day.
That perhaps reading an article on a random web site, not limited to 'newspapers' or 'magazines' would yield the hoster 1cent per view.

So, spiegel online, http://www.spiegel.de/ [spiegel.de] has perhaps 50 million hits per day. Does not matter if it is only 10 per day or even up to 100 million. They have(had?) that subsection where you need to pay 50cents - 150cents to few an (old!) article.

On the millions of hits they earn nothing, except income via advertizing. The subsection which is paywalled(was?) creates losses.

If I'm not bad in math the roughly 50 million hits per day would generate 50 million cents per day on income, that is 500,000 euros (per day!). If coming there would be payed via a true micro transaction. It would be super simple to add something into TCP/IP or HTTP that only lets people get onto payed sides if they really want to. I doubt they ever had hits on the paywalled articles worth so much money.

So, publishers/news sites/magazines spoiled the development of true micro transaction, micropayment systems. They are the reason stuff like Bitcoins got born.

Now they demand a search engine "tax"? How do they suppose that ever will work? I certainly won't visit any of them regardless what law gymnastics they perform. The next step will, be Tor, Bittorents, secret search engines, deep scanning and copying tools/sites or aggregation sites where people 'forward' news like in twitter or here on /. and the original news sites are completely cut off.

Don't get me wrong: I have no resentments against magazine publishers. I have nothing against paying for content. But being forced to pay 100 times more for online content - in our aera - than for the exact same content printed and mailed to my house ... Nope!

The only area where we right now have a very small true 'internet revolution', letting ordinary people publish and sell 'creations' in a way that other ordinary people can 'pay' a 'reasonable' price and finally the original 'creator' gets most of it (not an parasite credit card company, nor an parasite publisher) are: app stores, e book stores and music/movie stores like iTunes/iBook and Apples AppSore, likely the Android stores are similar, but it seems Amazon offers really bad options for authors (in relation to Apple or Smashworlds).

Anyway ... nearly 20 years world wide web now, still no micro payment that is worth the name, still no blogger, article writer who earns money by simply having a web presence. Still the only way to earn money via a web presence is advertizing ... and who truly wants that?

So the lack of true micropayment, caused by the old publishing industry brought up the new XYZ stores everyone here on /. hates ... sad, isn't it?

Re:Newspapers are one of the most annoying blocker (1)

tsiv (622512) | about 3 months ago | (#47601779)

Micro-payments have come to the Internet. Just not through credit cards. Look at any "Free2Play" online game and you can find plenty of micro-payment variants.

For a non-game implementation, look at Amazon coins. Once you overcome the transactional costs of traditional methods, it's very cheap - fractions of a cent to process. The only efficiency problem with private currencies is the breakage around conversion - usually you can't buy "just one", and if you don't use up all the converted private currency, you strand that value in the economy that uses that private currency. So it only really works for ecosystems that are "large enough".

BTW, I agree with everything else you said. Content providers have an inflated sense of their content's worth, and need to reset their pricing models.

Re:Newspapers are one of the most annoying blocker (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 3 months ago | (#47601919)

Ome of my points was: micro payment was once meant to be in the cent range.

Games involving 'micro transactions' still demand payment in the dollar range.

I'm aware about various 'web coin' payment methods :) And have a nice story to share. I bought 500 web coins in total worth of 5euro from http://web.de/ [web.de] In german we have a system called 'bank draft'. I allow a merchant, in this case Web.de, to draft 5 Euro from my bank account. For that I had to give them my account number basically. Do after the transaction was done, I had my 500 web cents, I bought something for like 100 or 2000, don't remember. And after an hour I removed my 'payment method' from the web site. Assuming ofc they had done their part of the transaction, drafting my money, already.
They had not; so six weeks later I got a paper letter complaining that I owed them 5 euro threatening to close my web account on their site.
How retarded is that! Postponing bank transactions relevant for an online transaction to another day. On a computer system?
Well, don't remember what I bought but I never payed the 5 euro and did nit spend the remaining 3 :)

Re:Newspapers are one of the most annoying blocker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601943)

The only efficiency problem with private currencies is the breakage around conversion - usually you can't buy "just one"

It's for that reason I wouldn't call them "real" microtransactions. They're micro line items in a bill, which is settled in larger chunks. IMHO micro-payments don't exist yet; it only counts if each purchase is 100% independent from the others. Even Bitcoin costs around $0.07 per transaction and that cost will only go up, and cheaper alternatives would become similarly expensive if they as popular.

Re:Newspapers are one of the most annoying blocker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47602995)

... lack of true micro-payment ...

Of course not! Think what's happening here: The web-page connects to a B2B portal which connects to a transaction clearing house which connects to your bank and the vendor's bank. Each is providing a service which demands payment. How is one meant to split 2 cents between between 4 different service providers plus pay for the product?

That's why games require the purchase of many tokens which are used in smaller transactions in the game. Nearly every vendor that sells digital information could offer the consumption model: newspapers, magazines, cable TV, on-line audio broadcasts.

Re:Newspapers are one of the most annoying blocker (1)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about 3 months ago | (#47603079)

So, publishers/news sites/magazines spoiled the development of true micro transaction, micropayment systems.

I beg your pardon, but from your very comment I draw the conclusion that the credit card companies spoiled the development of true micro-transactions by demanding a very large amount for each transaction. If they had realized the size of the economies of scale we're talking about here they would have settled for much less than a cent per transaction, but I think that their short-sightedness and greed got in the way.

Re:Newspapers are one of the most annoying blocker (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47607423)

Everyone involved spoiled it.
There are plenty of other options than credit cards for online payment.

Re:Newspapers are one of the most annoying blocker (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 2 months ago | (#47607625)

Personally, I suspect that, under ideal conditions, it costs more than once cent for the companies to process a transaction. This is especially true if they're to get their cut: it's easy for them to take 3% of a dollar transaction, much harder for a cent transaction.

Re:Newspapers are one of the most annoying blocker (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 2 months ago | (#47607695)

So, if Der Spiegel were to charge one cent per article (and how would that translate into pounds or US dollars?), it would have 500 million individual transactions to keep track of. To make sure they were able to collect. To maintain a complaint system when people argue they misclicked or were improperly billed. This is going to cost more than 500K euros to run.

Take a look at the App Store: you'll find stuff available for $0.99 and stuff for free, nothing in between. The App Store provides a relatively minor amount of revenue to Apple (although very large in absolute numbers; Apple's a very profitable company). Apple primarily supports this to make its iPhones and iPads more attractive. This suggests that it's hard to run a store with transactions of less than thirty cents (in USD), and I think we can agree that thirty cents is a lot of money for a news article.

The problem is not that Der Spiegel overcharged, the problem is that they couldn't charge a reasonable amount.

Re:Newspapers are one of the most annoying blocker (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47607959)

The problem is not that Der Spiegel overcharged, the problem is that they couldn't charge a reasonable amount.
Of course, but charging an unreasonable amount ( and Der Spiegel was only a closely grabbed example) did not help either.
Computing cycles don't cost much. The actual billing software costs the same, regardless if it bills 500.000 accesses per YEAR for 1.5 Euro, or 500.000 accesses per day for 1cent. (Yes, perhaps there was more hardware needed, but I doubt it)

As long as you don't invest overseas or trade you can consider one Euro == one Dollar ... one cent equals one cent. Current exchange rate is somewhere at 1.30 dollars per one Euro.

Poe's Law Strikes Again (3, Funny)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 3 months ago | (#47601271)

The Candlestick Makers' Petition [bastiat.org] by Bastiat:

We are suffering from the ruinous competition of a rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price; for the moment he appears, our sales cease, all the consumers turn to him, and a branch of French industry whose ramifications are innumerable is all at once reduced to complete stagnation. This rival, which is none other than the sun, is waging war on us so mercilessly we suspect he is being stirred up against us by perfidious Albion (excellent diplomacy nowadays!), particularly because he has for that haughty island a respect that he does not show for us.

We ask you to be so good as to pass a law requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside shutters, curtains, casements, bull's-eyes, deadlights, and blinds — in short, all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures through which the light of the sun is wont to enter houses, to the detriment of the fair industries with which, we are proud to say, we have endowed the country, a country that cannot, without betraying ingratitude, abandon us today to so unequal a combat.

Liking Linkin' Love (4, Insightful)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 3 months ago | (#47601293)

It is rather odd for them to try and tax people for talking about them, which is what this amounts to being. Even worse, they are taxing the people who are polite enough to provide a referential link back that would allow the reader to go to the source which then enables the source to earn something be it reputation, selling something or serving ad copy up which is how newspapers traditionally paid for their paper and ink.

Myself, I love being linked to. Please, link away because that's how the love is spread and the web grows.

Re:Liking Linkin' Love (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601447)

I suspect mentioning the source is required in some cases. However, that doesn't need to be a link. It can be a traditional reference, like on research papers. I wonder if there are any examples of such workarounds anywhere.

Re:Liking Linkin' Love (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47602169)

"Myself, I love being linked to"

And what well-known newspaper you publish? How many in your payroll? How much you spend in investigative reporting?

I mean, if you don't spend much/nothing in what you publish, of course you'll love linking as it means free advertising for you.

Lots of mini-sized letter there (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47601493)

In case you didn't, current spanish goverment is for showing you a carrot and telling you that it is a delicious cucumber.

The article misses telling you that EVERY publication has the right to collect money for any listing where it shows. Even personal blogs, for example.
And this is a right you can't opt-out from. I mean: I have the right to collect money from Google because it has some liks to my personal blog. I have the right to collect money from Slashdot because it links to my personal webpage (even though I put the link).

How do I collect that money? The Newspapers's Copyright Agency (a private agency) will collect it for me, even if I don't want to.
How much money will it collect for every link? No idea. They will negociate with each site. Now, picture them negotiating with Google, and then picture them negotiating with my friend who hosts another personal blog containing links to a newspaper. Google will have it quite easy, but my friend won't have it that easy.
How will I get the money? I won't. The money will be shared within the members of the Newspapers's Copyright Agency. I can't be an affiliated unless I get to create a newspaper. Of course, they don't have to tell me how they will share my money, but they don't even have to tell their affiliates O_o

This is Spain. A great place to make bussiness (if you already have lots of money)

pd: Google evades taxes by centralizing their european revenues in Ireland, regardless of where they make the money. They haven't been paying any taxes in Spain until now, they won't in the near future.

Re:Lots of mini-sized letter there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47602035)

The linked artical states: "This law was promoted by Spain's daily newspaper association, and it applies only to its members."

Re:Lots of mini-sized letter there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47602529)

That means "only its members get money from the deal".

Re:Lots of mini-sized letter there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47603723)

Exactly.
Only members of the asociation can get the money. But EVERY publication has the unrenunciable (exact word in the law) right to get paid, and that private association will collect the money for you (whether you want it to be so, or not).
There's not need for me to be a professional (as a right-holder example) and there's no need for the other guy to be making money thanks to linking to me.

Clearly said: the law has been made as a legal mean for extorsion in hands of a private association.

But don't worry, this can only be applied to people and companies settled in Spain. So, they can only extort spanish bussinesses. The law is being called "The Google law", but Google is clearly out o fthe scope. It will only be used against spanish entrepeneurs (making things even harder for bussiness creators).

Re:Lots of mini-sized letter there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47602505)

It's the same bullshit with ASCAP, etc., and it's not a new scam.

Is there any reason Google has to pay? (3, Insightful)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | about 3 months ago | (#47601895)

Can't Google just remove the links rather than pay? Wouldn't that hand them an near instant win over this law?

Re:Is there any reason Google has to pay? (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 2 months ago | (#47607713)

Doesn't Google already have policies and practices about linking behind paywalls? I don't think Google will have to do anything new here.

Wall St. Journal (1)

DivineKnight (3763507) | about 3 months ago | (#47603141)

Bring me back the old Wall St. Journal...the one where you had to understand the finer points of oragami to fold it so you could read it with one hand, and whose advertizements were for things you could never hope to afford.

Only if they are smarter than politicians (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 3 months ago | (#47604855)

That's a brilliant hack. If Google (and everyone else) is smarter than the politicians, they simply won't link to the newspapers. The newspapers will get no traffic and therefore no ad revenue, and go out of business. Damn those dastardly webmasters outsmarting the politicians.

And elsewhere on this page, people are seriously suggesting that these same moron politicians should be running the news outlets.

A better headline (1)

rjgill (1668367) | about 2 months ago | (#47607239)

Spain's Spanish Spaniards Tax Taxed Taxpayers (journalists)
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