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Digital News and Competition Policy in Europe and Japan
University of Aberdeen, Kyoto University and Kobe University - Ascola Asia and Eurasia
This study examines the power relations between press publishers and digital platforms, gives a picture of the industry, and discusses the regulatory solutions available in Europe and Japan, with a particular emphasis on the role of competition law.
Creators of news and literary works of a journalistic nature are the backbone of any ‘information society’. They provide fast and reliable information for the general public and keep in check the power-that-be. Yet, despite the abundance of demand for information and the popularity of old and new media outlets, newspapers have seen their profitability plummeting in the last 20 years. By controlling the main revenue sources of this industry, digital platforms have gained a position of dominance and superior bargaining power vis-à-vis press publishers.
As governments and public authorities are trying to rebalance the bargaining power between press publishers and digital platforms, this study examines the different regulatory responses. Against this backdrop, this study argues that, in absence of a ‘silver bullet’, a combination of legal tools including competition law, intellectual property rights, and sector-specific regulation, will be indispensable to ensure at least a transition to a new information landscape that preserves the role of news creators as fundamental actors of a democratic society.
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