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Germany: Leistungsschutzrecht, or how to make sure you’ll never need to change anything about your business, ever.

You’re a newspaper publisher who’s been around for a century or two. Well, not you personally (hopefully), but your publishing house. You’ve been living a sheltered life, mostly; declining ad revenue was easily shouldered by downsizing your regular staff and crushing freelancers with outrageously low fees for their time, effort, and work.

The reason for said dwindling revenues is this new kid on the block, The Wobble. It has been around for a couple of decades, but you never took it seriously, ignored it as best as you could. But your audience (the readers) and your customers (the businesses paying for ad space) liked the new guy; The Wobble became more and more popular. Deep in your heart you knew, already back in the late 90s, that its capricious nature might prove more resilient than you’d like. But what the hells, let’s ignore it some more.

Ten years later you concede one of these new-fangled thingies, a Web Site, might be in order. Yeah. And let’s put these articles online! That’s the thing to do, nowadays. Apparently. So businesses continue buying your print ad space, as well as online ads! To make your brand more popular amongst them weirdo dudes who are on “Social Media”, you’ll also add some buttons and stuff and include loads of metainformation for them “Search Engines”. Whatever they are.

At the same time, refrain from investing in the people who actually write and research the content you distribute. These Reuters and DPA and SDA online feeds are handy; after all, The Wobble and its friends won’t want to read real articles. Rehashes of news should suffice to rekindle the urge to subscribe to your paper-version paper, and thus ensure more revenue from advertisements.

Also, ignore the opportunities your new potential friend The Wobble wants to share with you. Reduce your perception to two of its warts: Facebook and Google. Then first sue Google for sharing headlines you made freely accessible on your web site, pretty much asking for it through SEO marketing. Your bank account doesn’t explode yet? Well, step two is to lobby with your government. Ask your governmental warden to tell The Wobble’s wart to pay for re-sharing content’s headlines (not full articles) you originally shared yourself.

Instant success! Also make sure to publish it in your on- and offline papers as a grand success for all reporters, journalists, photographers, and editors. You know, the guys and gals you pay less and less, and kick out of secure jobs more and more often. The people who would provide you with premium content you could make a living from if you both let them, and started talking with The Wobble rather than seeing it as a parasite.

But hey, what’s to worry about? Why make friends with the guy who’s been living nextdoor for thirty years? There’s always the warden to fall back on. So you won’t have to adapt or develop. Ever.

Reality check: You’re not the Media’s customers.

No, you’re a necessary evil. The real customers are advertising companies and all them salespeople that want to peddle their goods. Most TV formats are interruptions to the ongoing flow of publicity and marketing, their content shrewdly determined by what-people-want-to-see. So the audience sits through this ad fest and believes itself understood and informed.

Sometimes, the Media work hand-in-hand to ensure what-people-want-to-see is what-the-real-customers-want-to-have-associated-with-their-product. Woah, loads of hyphens right there. Apologies.

This also goes for magazines and many newspapers, the latter being a tad more aggressive than their TV counterparts: Let’s make sure there’s a world-wide ban of distributing content which hasn’t been properly licensed from big news agencies. After all, we all print the same stuff to save on wages for reporters. Gods forbid if people could actually read those news without advertisements; our customers wouldn’t be happy about that, would they?

So – support public-law offerings (you pay for them after all, hence you are the customer), and: the Indies. Buy shows on DVD or online if they are worth it. Take yourself out of the equation, atta boy.