Repubblica wrote last days the German parliament approved a law giving publishers the exclusive right to publish and to distribute their products.
You may wonder, where is the news? We are always used to see in every different sauces, the words all rights reserved in the various items published by paper or online. Including works of newspaper publishers. And including Repubblica. That, among other things, for represent this news used a tone between happy and triumphant.
Back to us. The novelty lies in the fact that the law in question prohibits the automatic spreading the news published in the online newspapers. Diffusion which is done by aggregators, first of all Google News.
Are we okay? Not really.
German publishers, are not happy with the results achieved and they are asking to forbidden even the publication of excerpts and summaries of their articles. So: or you buy this journal (paper or online), or you will remain in ignorance.
If this concept is accepted, it would be outlawed also this note, because to comment the news, I had to summarize it.
And what would happen to the review of books that include a summary of contents?
But why must we stop here?
Suppose we are writing a note to teach to university students the point about the evolution of theories of unification of forces. Why not impose to pay the rights of related scientific publications, even if I just bring the concepts using my own words? We are summarizing that scientific pubblications. And, most importantly, We take the substance of the conceptual work of someone else. Published and available for a fee.
I am deeply shocked! WE ARE EXAGGERATING.
We cannot think to subdue the flow of information to the pure laws of economics. It's like to think of profiting from the distribution of water[^1], or air.
Information is a right of the individual, no less important than other rights: life, liberty, personal security1. And deny it also means undermining the roots of the quality of these rights.
[^1] Yes, I know. Someone is used to do it. But this doesn't mean it isn't a disgusting action.