Google’s practice of displaying snippets news from popular newspapers as part of its news aggregating site has been a contentious issue for a long while. Newspapers essentially want Google to pay for doing so while Google holds that demand as preposterous. Germany has now decided to side with Google on this one.
A bill related to this issue was moved by the German parliament Bundestag. Much to Google’s luck, 293 members of the Parliament decided to rule that Google can publish experts from news sources for free. However, the bill also stated, that if Google wants to publish more than an excerpt, it must pay the newspaper or the original source of that publication.
Intriguingly, the bill doesn’t exactly define what it holds as an excerpt and what exactly can be the length of an excerpt. Recently, the search giant settled the very same case in France by creating a $78 million fund for digital publishing, in collaboration with a French media organization.
Commenting on the bill in Germany, a Google spokesperson stated, “As a result of today’s vote, ancillary copyright in its most damaging form has been stopped. However, the best outcome for Germany would be no new legislation because it threatens innovation, particularly for start-ups. It’s also not necessary because publishers and Internet companies can innovate together, just as Google has done in many other countries.”
However, Google has secured the victory in Germany rather narrowly as some 243 members were at the other side of the fence. It remains to be seen if this verdict will be used as a precedent by other European countries.