Sunday, June 16, 2024

Google Launches Public Fight Against German Ancillary Copyright Law

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In an effort to rally Germans against ancillary copyright legislation, Google has launched a “Defend Your Net” campaign. The proposed law would require search engines to pay newspapers for posting links to their sites.

Engadget’s Jamie Rigg reported, “On the campaign’s pages, the search giant voices its opinions on what such a decision would do: harm the German media and, by extension, the country’s economy. It also points out that its news service is ad-free, publishers can opt out of listings, and that some German outlets receive roughly half their traffic from Google searches. Anyone who wants to receive information on the bill’s progress can register for email updates, and a tool is available to find the contact details of your local official if you’re feeling proactive.”

Robert Andrews from paidContent noted, “Proposed in August and coming up for first reading in the Bundestag this Thursday, the Leistungsschutzrecht – or, ancillary copyright — would give news publishers the exclusive right to control re-uses of their output, requiring others obtain a license even to excerpt.”

Gerrit Wiesmann from the Financial Times explained, “Germany’s parliament on Thursday will for the first time debate a bill which is meant to give publishers more say over how their articles are used on the web. Search engines would have to ask for publishers’ permission to display links and snippets and it is hoped newspapers will be able to extract a licence fee in return. The ruling coalition of Christian Democrats and Free Democrats hopes the rules, which could come into force next summer, would allow publishers to recoup some of the revenue they have lost to the web. But critics warn of dire consequences.”

The Register observed, “Google appears to be stepping up its effort to crowdsource support by creating campaign websites alongside online petitions. Last week, it lobbied against meetings organised by the International Telecommunications Union. The company claimed that some of the proposals to overhaul the 1988 communications treaty could be bad news for free speech.”

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