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Axel Springer becomes a news aggregator

Am 2. September 2015 - 19:11 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Axel Springer and Samsung announced to release a news aggregating app and to pay the accruing ancillary copyright fees.

The South Korean tech giant Samsung and the German publisher Axel Springer have inked a strategic partnership. Their goal is to develop new digital media services for European consumers. The first service will be an app called "UPDAY". An early beta version will be available from tomorrow to German and Polish users of current Samsung devices. The full launch is scheduled for early 2016 when the app will also come to other European markets.

UPDAY is an aggregated news content platform that delivers information with the help of two different sections. Under "Need to know" the user gets content selected and created by a dedicated local market editorial team, whereas under "Want to know" an algorithm shows snippets and links to certain websites based on the user's individual interests.

So Axel Springer, the publisher that successfully lobbied for the introduction of an ancillary copyright for press publishers in Germany that was intended to force news aggregators to pay a fee to publishers every time they reproduce text from their articles, will now become such an aggregator.

But - of course - Axel Springer will pay publishers the ancillary copyright fees to "the extent applicable". "We want to set a precedent and behave in a way we want others to behave", Springer's executive vice president Christoph Keese said. That is what we know so far.

What we do not know is what that really means. Springer declared that they will not only link to their own articles - which will not evoke any fees obviously - but also to those of other publishers. To what extent? What will the fee be in the end? What will it be based on? Will the author of the text get their lawful compensation? Will Springer pay the fee all by themselves? Or will Samsung come up for some of it?

What happens if UPDAY is used daily by millions of people that generate ad revenue by clicking on a link to an article whereas UPDAY itself is free and has no ads? Will Springer still pay a fee because the whole company profits from the service? Or would they argue that they are the ones who bring the traffic to the sites and thus they should be the ones who get paid if anything.

Hopefully, this collaboration will change Springer's perspective.

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