• Germany edition
 
Google searches for web copyright bill opponents
Photo: DPA

Google searches for web copyright bill opponents

Published: 27 Nov 2012 11:52 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Nov 2012 14:40 GMT+01:00

In the biggest lobbying effort to change a bill ever undertaken by the company in Germany, Google is warning on its German site that ancillary copyright (Leistungsschutzrecht) threatens web users' access to information.

"Ancillary copyright means less information for citizens and higher costs for companies," said Google Germany head Stefan Tweraser.

"Searching and finding − a fundamental function of the internet − would be distorted by ancillary copyright."

Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition has proposed implementing a Leistungsschutzrecht law to ensure press publishers are fairly compensated for their content, for example, when a short summary of a news article appears on search engines or news aggregators.

But critics say the law would merely amount to a "Google Tax" to support beleaguered publishers unable to cope with the disruptive nature of the internet.

The Google campaign is an attempt influence the public debate ahead of the bill's first reading in parliament this Thursday. Along with a special page at www.google.de/campaigns/deinnetz/, Google has put the issue on its main German search page and YouTube.

The web giant has even created an "MP Map" with public contact information for German parliamentarians, so opponents of the Leistungsschutzrecht bill can contact their local representative.

"We ask internet users to fight for the ability to find what they search for in the future," said Tweraser. "We hope the German Bundestag will reject this draft legislation."

But Peter Beyer, an MP from Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats, attacked the initiative.

"I find this gigantic effort by Google completely overdone," he told the WAZ newspaper group. "Google has an immense economic power that it is uses for this campaign."

The lobby effort marks a new approach in Google's battle to win hearts and minds in Germany, where the company has often run into public and official opposition to some of its core offerings.

Whereas hundreds of thousands of Germans opted to have their residences blurred on Google's Street View mapping service, a row with Germany's musical royalties authority GEMA keeps German users from seeing countless videos on YouTube – which is owned by Google.

DPA/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:21 November 27, 2012 by chicagolive
Actually and this is one of those rare times I defend Googles practices lately. I do get to news quicker when Google provides a small except of a article. On this one they are right it will only hurt the publishers most especially the small ones you would not normally generate foot traffic. Also I want to say SCREW GEMA freakin mafia they should be banned.
13:39 November 27, 2012 by raandy
This is a step in the direction of internet control.

Hopefully her in Germany this will not precipitate to the level GEMA has.
09:37 November 28, 2012 by authun
I support Google on this but am disappointed with their petition form: No indication/promise that they will not collect and/or hand on one's personal information. Or is it just due to (typical German) sloppy, incomplete user interface development from the Googlers here?
10:12 November 28, 2012 by pepsionice
Only a moment of pondering....but if I were Google....I'd take every single German address under .de, and just show them as text only during searches.....no more than five words max. Let them get a dose of what they desire. Businesses will quickly wise up and tell the government to go and find someone else to screw with.
11:47 November 28, 2012 by michael4096
Serious authors should worry a lot about this. Internet search is the best shop window ever invented for them but frightening the search sites with ill-defined rules and legal threats will simply remove that avenue for promotion leaving them tighter in the arms of the publishers.

Apart from a few publishers, the only winners here will be lawyers.
20:31 December 22, 2012 by coffeelover
Sounds like the newspaper lobby at work here. Sad to see newspapers go out of business all the time, but time still marches on, they can do what a lot of newspapers do in the U.S. and show just 1 paragraph of the story when you click on it from ANY search engine, then demand money to "subscribe" to read unlimited online version of the whole newspaper. Yea, I think that is a failed business model. If I were GOOGLE, I would not show any link to a news site demanding a royalty, or tax to show related search content, this would pretty much kill any business that demands it. I thought us Germans were smarter than this suicidal greedy legislation indicates.
Today's headlines
Indian schools drop German teaching
Indian pupils enrolled in German classes prepare for Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's visit to their school. Photo: DPA

Indian schools drop German teaching

Thousands of children in India will no longer be taught German after the country's education ministry allowed a contract to lapse. READ  

Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?
Coming soon? Photo: DPA

Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?

Berlin's bid to set up a free city-wide wireless network has so far come to nothing. But city bosses are now trying for a fourth time - and hope to have the project running next year. READ  

Opinion
Do German unions have too much power?
Lufthansa passengers rush to change their flights at Frankfurt Airport on Monday. Photo: DPA

Do German unions have too much power?

Germany's pilots and train drivers are taking it in turns to bring the country to a standstill with strikes that have cost the economy tens of millions of euros in the last two weeks. Are unions abusing their power or standing up for their rights? READ  

Older workers can have extra days off, court says
Photo: Workers in a German shoe factory. Photo: DPA

Older workers can have extra days off, court says

Older workers in Germany are allowed more time off than younger ones, a court ruled on Tuesday, saying the difference was not discriminatory. READ  

Expat's family battles for answers four years on
Matthew Fitzpatrick died in 2010 in Mannheim. Photo: Fitzpatrick family

Expat's family battles for answers four years on

In 2010 an Irish computer engineer was found dead in his apartment in Baden-Württemberg. Four years on, his family are still pressing the German justice system for answers. They feel badly let down by police who they say have refused to examine evidence of foul play. READ  

Court: Germany can keep arms deals secret
The judges of the Supreme Court announce their decision about weapons exports on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Court: Germany can keep arms deals secret

The government can keep arms deals secret and only tell the public about them after contracts have been signed, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. READ  

Tourist finds €7,500 instead of cheesecake

Tourist finds €7,500 instead of cheesecake

Just how honest would you have to be to return €7,500 that you found in a box supposed to contain your favourite cheesecake? READ  

Tanker fills up gas station with wrong fuel
Photo: DPA

Tanker fills up gas station with wrong fuel

Around 160 car owners are stuck after a gas station's storage tanks were filled with the wrong fuel, causing an estimated €100,000 in damage. READ  

Lufthansa strike hits 1,500 flights
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa strike hits 1,500 flights

UPDATE: In the second day of their strike, Lufthansa pilots have, as promised, extended their industrial action to include long-haul international flights until the end of Tuesday. READ  

Merkel tells allies to pay Ukraine's gas debts
Chancellor Angela Merkel in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Monday. Photo: DPA

Merkel tells allies to pay Ukraine's gas debts

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called on Ukraine's allies to help the war-scarred nation pay off its gas debts to Russia, amid concern over gas supplies this winter. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Sponsored Article
International School on the Rhine: a legacy
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,488
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd