But it’s not just punks like me and Geist who see the world this way. Jeff Elgie of Village Media, an online startup in Canada, calls the notion that Facebook or Google should pay for his content “laughable” because in reality they provide “massive free distribution.”

“I take a very different view than this newspaper lobby group,” Elgie said recently.

The more you post boring stuff, the less of a delivery priority it becomes. The more frequently you post content your readers want to see, the greater the speed with which it is delivered to them. If only seven per cent of your readers are engaging, it’s worth taking a look in the mirror.

“We always looked, on the distribution side, at Google and Facebook as friends in the sense that if you look at our market today, probably on average 40 per cent to 50 per cent of our traffic comes from those two companies alone.

“What if we had to pay for this distribution? The costs to me . . . would be astronomical. The industry attacking these companies and saying ‘you’re stealing our content’ is the most frustrating thing to me ever. The reality is that if I don’t want Google to crawl on my site, I can put one line of code that will prevent it.”

Not surprisingly, that’s not a point of view you are likely to read in a lot of newspapers these days. Because, you know, democracy.

Peter Menzies is a senior fellow at the Macdonald Laurier Institute, past CRTC vice chair and a former newspaper publisher.