Making Free News a Policy?

Isn’t it curious that in the Information Society that information, news, and all kinds of content seem to be worth less and less, in real monetary value?

Despite intellectual and copyright protections, content (words, pictures, films and audio) is traded and shared all over the internet and the remuneration for content developers is becoming smaller and smaller. Recent work in Stockholm by Peter Jakobsson & Fredrik Stiernstedt (2012) seems to point situation where the digital industries – platforms like Google, Apple, and Facebook – are squaring up for a confrontation with the traditional media industries.  Digital media lobbying organisations such as CCIA ( are arguing for less stringent copyright enforcement; and European and Swedish policy makers are placing the emphasis on trust, rather than on enforcement.  According to Jakobsson & Stiernstadt, this is because policymakers are beginning to view the value of the media economy in a different way: “the digital industries can create value using the content produced by the Internet user and the cultural industries in a way that generates more value than the value produced by the copyright industries themselves.” (2012, p.53).  Thus the argument goes that rather than being valuable in and of itself, news content is just another way of gathering platform audiences, and in the greater scheme of things provides more economic value by being free.  Combatting this logic will be a real challenge for news organisations going forward.


Jakobsson, P., & Stiernstedt, F. (2012). Reinforcing Property by Strengthening the Commons: A New Media Policy Paradigm? TripleC (Cognition, Communication, Co-Operation): Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society, 10(1), 49-55.

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