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LETTER: Fair compensation

- Reuters

I read with interest the a story in The Guardian (Ottawa to face increased pressure from digital giants over use of local news content, Sept. 5), concerning our federal government possibly implementing new regulations against Facebook. This is in regards to FB users posting news stories from media outlets.

These regulations would follow what Australia is doing; that is to force digital giants like Facebook and Google to pay news outlets for any stories that get posted by users. While I don’t have a clear understanding of how ads work on FB, I do assume they are paid for. But, in sharing news stories, as users do willy, nilly, you are cheating the researcher/writer of any compensation for that story.

As a journalist of 43 years and a long-time member of Access Copyright I do receive compensation on the chance my stories and/or books, or portions of my books, are photocopied and used. That compensation comes in the form of a payback cheque in November.

I have shared the occasional political cartoon on FB, and recently a clipping from The Guardian that was many years old, without any thought to who took that picture or drew that cartoon. Shame on me. This is done so frequently,  it would seem obvious that the doers never think (about who the creator is).

We all deserve to be paid for our talents and work, no matter how many times it is shared. What’s happening in Australia could mean that FB will block anyone trying to post news stories.

Think twice… It could happen here as well.

Kathy Birt,

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