Friday, April 23, 2021

Google Battles European Newspapers

News organizations in several European countries are asking their governments to pass new legislation that would prevent Google from posting links and summaries of their content. They say they should be paid when search engines link to their content.

Gerrit Wiesmann from the Financial Times reported, “Germany is leading a growing European movement to let newspaper publishers charge internet search engines for displaying links to their articles – a move market-leader Google warns could cause an internet news blackout. The so-called ancillary copyright bill – to be debated by the Bundestag for the first time at the end of November – will give newspaper and magazine publishers the right to stop search engines and news aggregators from linking to their web pages if Google and its rivals refuse to pay royalties for their use.”

Newsfactor’s Lori Hinnant noted, “Critics — including, unsurprisingly, Google — say the strategy is shortsighted and self-destructive, and the search engine warns it will stop indexing European news sites if forced to pay. But publishers advocating a ‘Google tax’ aimed at benefiting their industry point to the example of Brazil, where their counterparts abandoned the search engine and say repercussions have been minimal.”

David Carr from The New York Times quoted Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, who said, “We had some good discussions, and I would expect that we will reach some kind of agreement by the end of the year.” He added, “Whenever you are dealing with government, you want to be very clear about what you will do and will not do. And we don’t want to pay for content that we do not host. We are very clear on that.”

In Forbes, Tim Worstall commented, “I’ve never quite understood this drive in France to make Google pay for linking to newspaper websites from the index. It’s just so at odds with what everyone else on the internet is trying to do that it seems near insane. I have managed to understand at least some of the points being made by the newspapers: but their intended action still seems near certifiable to me.”

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