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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Google Has Troubles in Germany

Do you know that Google has news section? This seems to cause it troubles because Chancellor Angela Merkel demands the search engine, as well as the others, to pay for every bit of reproduced material from news Internet portals.
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Actually, Google News makes decent income out of hot reports from major news sites like the CNN, BBC, and New York Times. As such, Angela Merkel’s cabinet agreed a week ago on a draft that would force Google and other aggregators to pay a fee for every bit of content borrowed from other sources. If Merkel succeeds with her plan, the search engine may find itself in trouble in Germany.

She claimed that the publishers should be better protected on the web, and would now receive a tailor-made copyright legislation for their presence on the Internet. The law in question is actually trying to financially help local news portals by forcing the search engines to share their profits. A number of publishing houses in Germany argued that aggregator websites made profit from the work of others.

Merkel’s coalition government has been developing this legislation since 2009. They say that online services using the work of others have to accept a price tag.

The reaction of the search engine was of course to harshly criticize the draft. In addition, important politicians (the center-left Social Democrats and the Greens) also disagreed with Angela Merkel’s suggestion, saying that it would stifle with freedom of the online data. Local Pirate Party also saw the legislation as an insult to Internet freedom. They said that there were no technical or economic reasons for such legislation, which stifles the innovation.

However, private bloggers, foundations and some enterprises don’t fall under the legislation, because it has been designed only for those who “systematically collect” snippets from the sites.

The draft of the legislation clearly says that it shouldn’t be misunderstood as a protection offered by policymakers for an outdated business model. Nevertheless, its critics believe the exact opposite. By the way, they may be right, as the business of profiting from advertising isn’t as fruitful as some may think. This means that charging money from the search engines and other aggregators would not really change the financial situation in the advertising arena.

Anyway, the things are not settled yet, as the German Parliament still has to decide whether the legislation should pass or not.

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