The privacy-focused European search engine Qwant has declared its support for the European Copyright Directive and will set aside money to pay creators and journalists for work that generates income for the platform.
"To prove to you how far I’m going to support this directive, I’m announcing that, before the vote even happens, Qwant will start paying content creators – news organizations for articles, photographers for photos – and the creators of music and video that our search engine indexes,”
Qwant’s chief executive, Eric Léandri, said in an interview with Les Echos.
Qwant, which describes itself as “the first search engine which protects its users freedoms and ensures that the digital ecosystem remains healthy,” is setting a powerful example in a debate where Google and its sister company YouTube have come out guns blazing against the Copyright Directive.
Mr. Léandri also called for the creation of a public, open-source platform to identify copyright protected material and determine who should be paid for it.
Regarding Article 13, which requires platforms like Facebook or YouTube to take responsibility for copyright-protected content posted by users of their services, Mr. Léandri told Les Echos:
“There is a risk that the filtering technologies would belong to Google, which just invested $100 million to improve its “Content ID” tool, or Facebook, which is doing the same thing. That would mean that the Tech Giants would become “gatekeepers” of the web and would be able to influence the destiny of messaging platforms, social networks, cloud storage specialists, etc. They would be able to gather users’ data and spy on the businesses of the smallest actors.”
He said the idea of the open source content-identification system would be that “companies that depend on the Web would be able to check with it to see whether the content they are using is copyright protected or not. For example, you send a photo you want to use and the system answers “yes” or “no” depending on a fingerprint associate with it. It’s a lot simpler technically than people thing. And fairer.”
In a post on Qwant’s Medium account, the company said it “will help bring these technologies to life as quickly as possible and will propose standards that will reconcile the respect for intellectual property rights, European sovereignty, and the defense of a free and open Internet.”