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SA publishers challenge Google, Meta's use of their content free of charge

Platforms like Google and Meta have been using publishers’ content at no cost to grow their market dominance. File photo.
Platforms like Google and Meta have been using publishers’ content at no cost to grow their market dominance. File photo.
Image: ANDREW KELLY/Reuters

The media industry association Publisher Support Services (PSS) has approached the Competition Commission to challenge Google and Meta’s use of their content at no cost.

“Though the initiative is led by the founder members of the PSS (Arena Holdings, Caxton, Independent Media, Mail & Guardian and Media24), the main objective of the submission goes beyond the interests of these publishers only. This is about protecting the funding and sustainability of journalism as a cornerstone of our democracy,” said Hoosain Karjieker, CEO of Mail & Guardian Media and chairperson of the PSS.

“Globally, platforms like Google and Meta have been using publishers’ content at no cost to grow their market dominance. Our objective is to get them to compensate all publishers, big and small, fairly and equitably for their journalistic efforts.”

Karjieker noted the success achieved by similar efforts in other parts of the world, most notably Australia and Europe, that forced these platforms to the negotiating table to have them agree on fair compensation to publishers for their content.

According to PSS, the Competition Commission launched its market inquiry into online platforms operating in SA in May 2021, with a focus on online intermediation services.

This, it said, includes the market dynamics and business practices that apply across the respective platforms operating in the country.

“Publishers and media owners who are not members of PSS are welcome to join our efforts or independently liaise with the commission,” Karjieker said.

The PSS can be contacted at administrator@pdmedia.org.za.

The inquiry is expected to release its findings and report by October.

TimesLIVE


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