• Germany's news in English

Google searches for web copyright bill opponents

The Local · 27 Nov 2012, 14:40

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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."

Story continues below…

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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
Munich to get 'nice toilets' to serve cross-legged locals
Photo: DPA

The Bavarian capital has a pee problem - the city only has one public toilet for every 13,000 inhabitants. But a new plan could rescue desperate locals, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

German kids get glowing report for their English skills
Photo: DPA.

As if multilingual Germans don't already put many English-speakers to shame, now the younger generation is improving their English skills even more.

Berlin museum controversially recreates Hitler bunker
The reconstruction of the Hitler bunker. Photo: DPA

Sensationalized or compelling history? Berlin museums clash over new Nazi bunker exhibit

Germans think they're fit, but they're really couch potatoes
Photo: DPA.

There's been an increase in the number of Germans who define themselves as "fit", but their lifestyle choices don't quite match this self-perception.

10 fascinating facts you never knew about German beer
Tennis coach Boris Becker and his wife Lilly at Oktoberfest 2016 in Munich. Photo: DPA

From malt and monks to Radlers and rivalries, the story of German beer is as rich and wonderful as its selection.

Intensive farming 'endangers a third of German species'
Photo: DPA

There are 32,000 species of animal, plant and mushroom life native to Germany. Due to intensive farming methods, one in every three of these is endangered, a new report shows.

German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd