Google may have to pay copyright fees for news in S. Korea soon

The Korea Times, Yonhap News Agency

Photo by: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash

Google has been paying copyright fees for news in some countries, and this was after it formed the Google News Showcase, a licensing scheme where the company pays fees to news organizations. While this program was already implemented in other nations, South Korea has yet to have it.

Google implemented the copyright fees as it was pressured to do so. With the increasing efforts to bolster antitrust regulations on digital platforms, the American tech giant had to make an agreement with news organizations for the use of their respective content.

Now, The Korea Times reported that officials in South Korea revealed that change is also coming to the country as groups are demanding a measure to be imposed for a fair charge on major foreign tech firms.

As mentioned earlier, Google established the News Showcase scheme as a response to calls for payments over news that appear on its platform, but this has not been initiated in S. Korea yet. The country has a Newspaper Act, but according to the report, Google is not regarded as one of the news service providers under this policy, so officials are seeking to revise this law.

Rep. Kim Yeong Shik of the People Power Party was said to have proposed the amendment of the Newspaper Act in April so news organizations in the country will have the chance to grow further. Then again, it has yet to be seen if the bill could be passed at the National Assembly.

“Korea's internet service providers, Naver and Kakao, have been paying news organizations for reusing news content,” the local newspaper industry representative said. “They pay news fees by distributing their advertisement revenue, but Google does not.”

There will be waiting time for the bill to be passed, but an insider suggested that the growing public opinion that the National Assembly should pass the revision quickly may force the officials to hasten the process. The public wants the Newspaper Act to be amended as soon as possible to prevent Google from using the country’s news organizations’ content for free.

Meanwhile, Google Korea decided to lower its commission fee for app developers in the country. Yonhap News Agency reported in March that the 30% rate on in-app purchases would be lowered to just 15%. The decision comes as the tech firm was inundated with complaints from app developers and software makers due to steep fees.

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