I’m suspicious of the unanimity and of manichaeism in complex cases. I am wary of ministers of Culture when they sting to constrain the freedom of expression. I am wary of large philanthropic crusades, which are in fact issues, mundane, or even seek to hide errors major strategic under a smoke screen. I observe, therefore, carefully support loud Françoise Nyssen, of some of his predecessors, of the great editors of the French press and the AFP to the proposal for a directive, “copyright”, a hotly discussed at the moment in Brussels.

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The text includes twenty-four articles, of which twenty-three on the music, the cinema, the right of authors and artists, etc, that I will not allow myself to comment. The latter, on the other hand, the article 11, on a topic that I know a little about : he intends to govern the relationships, as well as financial, editorial, between the media and the platforms for dissemination of content that have become the Glasses – including Google, Facebook, Apple and the social networks with which they are affiliated.

“We do subventionnerons not”

The Glasses. First say that I am not fooled by the objectives they pursue. It is the defenders of genuine freedom of the Internet. They are not – or more. Their little arrangements with the dictators is enough to show that, beyond the speech, only count their unimaginable profits, they have no intention of spontaneously sharing with us less than with anyone else.

in this regard, I remember a meeting with French representatives of one of these giants, after that I had suggested in a blog post by the boycott, to stop the feed for free with our articles. We had discussed, in particular, a possible remuneration of the service that we make, and render him still. Our argument : we can estimate that the traffic and the loyalty that we generate on your platform is minimal, they are none the less real, the media are the suppliers, pay them, you have even more interest in their disappearance, as you speed by siphoning their revenue on advertising, you will do harm to you also. Response to my interlocutors : “You ask us to subsidize, this is not our role.” We didn’t speak the same language, do not always talk about not.

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Since then, a few (too few) initiatives, Google, or Facebook in particular, have yet left to hope that a reconciliation is possible. Especially, the successes, the United States, CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post, which applies to the distribution of the information, the know-how of its owner, Jeff Bezos, creator of Amazon, show that the party is not necessarily lost if we appeal to the intelligence, flexibility and innovation.

Until now, the publishers of the French press have not, in their whole, conspicuous either by their agility, or their recklessness. At the same time, they have never been able to oppose a front and projects the power of the giants of the Web. At the scale of Europe, it is the Berezina. Each plays its partition against the others, fighting alone or in small groups in the hope of pecking a few crumbs that are supposed to save the bet and make the difference with the competitors. I caricature, but barely. As farmers, metallurgy or… the hi-tech made in France, all economic sectors weakened by the divisions and bad decisions, the press has finished, failing to negotiate collectively, by turning to the power of the public, the european Commission, in the present instance, to demand that she now addressed by the law to its own deficiencies.

existential Crisis

Economically, the approach is already questionable – to impose artificially a flourishing business of bailing out its neighbour clumsy. In terms of efficiency, it is well seen in the tax records that when it comes to contribute to the public good, the Glasses do not make it easily weapons – when have been exhausted all remedies and appeals, in what state will be the newspapers and their pending digital ? Finally, applied to a material as flammable as freedom of expression, which is exercised today, in large part, on the internet, the remedy could be worse than the disease.

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I do not question the sincerity of the journalists who, in recent days, defended in his name, in public forums, widely relayed on… Twitter, the necessity of a “neighboring right” which would force search engines and even more importantly, the social networks pay publishers when they use their content to develop their business. These colleagues are employed by the Agency France Press, Le Monde, La Libre Belgique, Die Zeit, Corriere della sera…

These major media (including The Express) going through an economic crisis, but also (but before any ?) existential : if we buy less, it is that we read less ; if it reads less, it is because their readers, the younger first, will now seek the information elsewhere. For “bad” reasons (which some of these media have also helped when the equation seemed favourable, and that the Glasses brought them to mass customers and advertising) : the information is free and accessible from everywhere. For “good” reasons, from the point of view of readers who have abandoned : the newspapers no longer meet their need for completeness, novelty and interactivity, they are questionable and challenged, why’d you, why pay you not to believe ? Prior to requesting the support of european technocrats, it is to these questions that the press should strive to meet – and it does not meet, or evil.

The weight of lobbies

The “small” publishers know well, who have stepped into the breach, like Mediapart in France. At its larger scale, Wikipedia is another. This is not a coincidence if the on-line encyclopedia door up the challenge against the directive, “copyright”, as a number of independent sites, bloggers, and, in a beautiful set, the world of “free Internet”, which denounces the censorship contained in hollows in the text – to avoid falling foul of the law, the distribution platforms will need to develop control algorithms that do not distinguish between loans legitimate and illegitimate. No more than the freedom of expression, aloft like a banner in front of the economic interests it conceals, without grades and without visibility does not have much to gain from being thus “protected”, they say, quite the contrary.

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“we have Never had to undergo such harassment on the part of lobbies”, complain about some members of the european parliament, including the mail boxes spill-over of messages that are unfavourable to the directive drawn up by the cells of the communication of the Glasses. This is surely true : you can trust these machines of war to trigger the nuclear fire when their interests are threatened – and they are, and it is so much the better. But it is a bit short : you can’t reduce the opposition to the directive “copyright” in a campaign organized by sub-hand. Except to behave as lobbyists, that it denounces.

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