Transfer Pricing Associates

Publishers Go Up Against Google

post Tuesday January 15, 2013

digital news, fdp

In Germany, a public hearing of Google initiated by the legal committee of the German publisher, the Bundestag is scheduled for the 30th of January. The German newspaper publishers expect to be able to charge the online search engine for using links to the online versions of newspapers.

The Christian Democrats lead by Angela Merkel together with their Free Democrat Junior partners referred to this act of enforcement as an extension of copyright. By demanding Google to ask for the permission of newspapers for the use of their links, the lawmakers expect the newspapers to be able to charge online search engines license fees.

The underlying reasoning is to provide news publishers with an opportunity to recoup  the lost revenues from readers and advertisers moving to the web.

As a counteract, Google launched a new project “Protect your web – find what you are looking for”, and it warns that the bill could harm easy access to online information. Google says the project is a success, the accompanying website was visited by 1.5m people since October and 60,000 users signed up to protest against the bill.  

Google encourages its users to call or email their local parliament members and complain against the bill, infuriating the German lawmakers and the members of the government.  

Germany is not the only country trying to get back to Google and other online search engines. French, Italian, Swiss and Portuguese publisher associations have also joined their German counterparts in the fight for the regulation and rebalancing of the online economy. The French government appointed a mediator to reach an agreement between Google and France, after in an earlier meeting in October the French President threatened to introduce a law on this matter. Even though the Italian publishers have acknowledged an initiative, there is no firm schedule for legislation. Also the Swiss government started the investigation of the issue, however, it warned it is a long process until changes will be seen.  

Source article: Financial Times

Image source: Free Digital Photos

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