Monday, June 13, 2016

"...Morocco Bans Sharing Newspapers To Protect Publisher Business Models"

Following up on the ideas in this morning's "Ink-Stained Wretch Talks About the Future Of Journalism and the Publishing Business".
From techdirt:
Not the Onion
from the no,-really dept

It's no surprise that traditional newspaper publishing is a struggling business. That's been the case for a long time, leading to a variety of silly proposals to try to prop up their failing businesses. There's been talk of changing copyright law to ban linking to or paraphrasing newspaper articles online.

There's been a lot of focus on somehow harming search engines, as if they're the problem that newspapers face. There have been proposals to create a special version of the hot news doctrine to stop search engines from linking to stories. And, of course, over in the EU there's been a years-long push to "tax" links, which was so broad in Spain that Google News shut down in that country. That law, designed to protect newspapers, actually harmed them.

However, I don't think any proposal we've seen is crazier than what's happening in Morocco, where apparently newspaper publishers are lashing out at anything they can think to blame in response to decreasing revenue -- including people in cafes sharing newspapers with others. And thus, a compliant government has now banned the practice. No one's putting any spin on this other than "OMG, newspapers are making less money, and let's 'protect' them."
Members of the Moroccan Federation of Newspaper Publishers (FMEJ) said the habit of "leaving newspapers behind in public places" was costing their industry $150m each year in lost revenue.

The habit of sharing newspapers, leaving them lying around and generally trying to avoid paying for them was "bleeding the sector," they claimed in an appeal to the Moroccan government.
I always love the use of "lost revenue" as a descriptor for "Hey, people aren't paying you as much any more because they've found better things to spend their money on." It's not lost revenue. You didn't misplace it. You just are making less because people have found better things to spend on. But, no matter, when the newspaper publishers complain, the government quickly leaps into action. As a result, the country's communications minster has agreed to ban providing newspapers for free in cafes, as well as lending them.
Mustapha Khalfi said newspaper editors were "suffering" and that the government needed to try and "limit the damage."...