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Germany moves to dilute criticized 'Google law'

The Local · 27 Feb 2013, 07:10

Published: 27 Feb 2013 07:10 GMT+01:00

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The law regulating so-called ancillary copyright (Leistungsschutzrecht), which is scheduled to pass parliament on Friday, would no longer apply to extremely short passages.

“Single words or the smallest text excerpts” would be exempt from the law, Manuel Höferlin, internet expert for the Free Democratic Party, told the DPA news agency late on Tuesday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition of Christian and Free Democrats proposed the Leistungsschutzrecht law to ensure press publishers were fairly compensated for their content, for example when a short summary of a news article appears on search engines or news aggregators.

But critics of the bill have dubbed it the “Lex Google” because they say Germany’s beleaguered publishers are hoping to milk the successful US internet giant.

The company has mounted vigorous opposition to the legislation, saying content providers benefitted from traffic directed from snippets on its search engine and Google News.

“It was important to me to find a solution that allows the display of search results without making a visit to the original site superfluous,” Höferlin said.

The VDZ and BDZV publisher associations reacted coolly to the proposed changes to the bill.

“We assume the ancillary copyright law first and foremost creates the legal foundation for press publishers to protect the work of publishers and journalists in the digital age,” they said in a joint statement.

Story continues below…

Google had no immediate comment on the matter.

DPA/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:19 February 27, 2013 by blackboot11
Get with the times... it is 2013 now. .. and here in Germany people still rely on the FAX... which is a complete joke. Put some money into updating your infastructure and stop 'taxing' outside companies who do.

The age of print on paper is behind us and most here are afraid of letting this go.
10:28 February 27, 2013 by Scottsdesk
Yeah well if the lights go out you will be glad you have a tangible record of what you own or are owed.
12:42 February 27, 2013 by rosenthalenglish
Google has got to big for its boots.It makes billions worldwide and pays hardly any taxes anywhere.For once I hope the media win this one!
12:53 February 27, 2013 by raandy
No surprise here. I doubted Google would go along with subsidizing newspapers.If they object to the use they can remove themselves easily from Google News.
13:56 February 27, 2013 by wood artist
This sounds a whole lot like GEMA. Are the content providers complaining, or is this just some copyright protection agency trying to justify their own existence? I'm quite certain most media outlets would be happy to allow snippets since that drives visits to their sites. The alternative is that you'll never know who might have a story about "whatever."

03:04 February 28, 2013 by coffeelover
I am sorry to see print news dead, and dying just like the dinosaurs. Newspapers either HAVE TO adapt, or sell assets while they are still worth something. Google, Bing, other search engines do drive traffic to their sites they would otherwise not get. Slowly learning to use the 'net to read news myself, and strive to click on local newspapers sites to get the story from the source, top inter., and national newsites all spout the same story, most of the time, word for word.

Google is getting rich off this model, so imo, should be willing to share profits since they are using these sites to generate profit for themselves.
13:21 February 28, 2013 by Herr Ed
This sounds more like a case of cutting off one's nose to spite the face. Google will simply block the results of German news organizations, which means fewer people viewing that organization's web site, which means lower revenues for the news organization since they have fewer hits on their site.

Let's get real. When searching for news on Google, you get somewhere between the first 25 and 30 words of an article, or just enough to know if it's what you're looking for. Is getting paid for those 25 words worth the cost of losing a possible visitor to your site? Somehow common sense and business sense have left the building.
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