News publishers could soon demand money from search engines

The likes of Google facing a levy for republishing content...

News publishers could soon demand money from search engines

Photocall file photo

New European Commission proposals could entitle news publishers to charge internet companies for the privilege of publishing extracts of their stories online.

Radical copyright reforms are being finalised by the commission that would give European news organisations stronger rights to demand payment from the likes of Google and Facebook.

According to the Financial Times, the proposals are set to be published in September and are aimed at not only diluting the power of online giants but also shoring up the revenues of traditional media whose content is currently shared free-of-charge globally.

The move comes after considerable pressure from publishers, as the likes of Google and Facebook see their online advertising revenue skyrocket while news sites struggle for ad money despite expanding digital audiences.

If introduced, it would mean Google's parent company, Alphabet, might have to pay for the use of article extracts in its Google News service.

The European Commission states in draft proposals seen by The Guardian:

"The sustainability of publishing industries in the EU may be at stake, with the risk of further negative consequences on media pluralism, democratic debate and quality of information.”

The proposals argue that the big online players have a "strong bargaining position" that "makes it difficult for publishers to negotiate with them on an equal footing".

They come as part of the commission's plans to create a digital single market, and also suggest imposing an obligation on video platforms such as YouTube to seek revenue-sharing agreements with content rights holders.

The new reforms could increase tensions between Washington and Brussels, with the relationship already strained over the pending decision in the Apple tax case.