German publishers start legal action against Google over news snippets

German news publishers want a part of Google's revenue

German news publishers are escalating their fight to get a cut of the ad revenue that Google makes when it republishes parts of their news articles.

The publishers' society VG Media has started legal proceedings against Google after the search-engine giant refused to negotiate with the collecting society and publicly declared it would not pay such a compensation, VG Media said Wednesday.

Twelve German online news publishers took a 50 percent stake in VG Media last February with the aim of beginning to start collecting compensation from search engines. They want some of the advertising revenue that search engines and aggregators generate by republishing parts of their content.

As a first step in the legal proceedings, VG Media filed a request for compensation with the Copyright Arbitration Board of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office, an independent body that mediates disputes between collecting societies and users of copyright works. The board strives to reach amicable arrangements between the parties and precedes a procedure with the district court, VG Media said.

The publishers based their claim on a new German online copyright law that came into effect last August. It gives publishers the exclusive right to the commercial use of their content and parts thereof, except in the case of single words or small text snippets.

This exemption was added in order to allow search engines and aggregators to continue to show parts of news articles without infringing on copyright. Publishers however interpret the law differently and maintain that it allows them to demand compensation.

"The law is formulated clearly," and means that search engines with a commercial interest like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are subject to pay fees, said Michael Tenbusch, managing director at Burda Broadcast Media and deputy chairman of VG Media's advisory board.

The society is also negotiating with other providers and will start legal proceedings against them if necessary, it said.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags copyrightGooglelegalintellectual propertyCivil lawsuits

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?