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Google The Courts Communications EU The Internet News

German Publishers' Lawsuit Against Google May Backfire (npr.org) 29

jowifi writes: VG Media, a German publishing company, filed a lawsuit against Google claiming Google's use of snippets in their search results infringed the publishers' copyrights. However, the suit may backfire because the Berlin court is now reviewing the law itself to determine if it is even valid. The question arose because Germany did not submit the rule for review by the EU before enacting it, violating an EU Directive. If the law is invalidated, the decision could present problems for a proposed EU-wide directive that is similar to the German rule. Germany's rule had a rough start when it was implemented in 2014. Google refused to pay fees to publishers, instead allowing them to opt in to having snippets shown. One publisher declined to opt in, but changed their mind after traffic from Google dropped 40% and traffic from Google News dropped 80%. Handelsblatt Global explains why Germany decided not to notify the EU about the draft of this law: "While typically a formality, notification reviews of national laws by Brussels can take up to two years or more. In 2013, Germany did not submit the copyright law for notification, citing a Justice Ministry argument that the law's scope was so limited, it didn't fall under the E.U.'s notification requirement."
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German Publishers' Lawsuit Against Google May Backfire

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 11, 2017 @06:52PM (#54402641)

    VG = Verwertungsgesellschaft. They represent publishers as special interest group and are responsible for collecting and distributing fees for media use. They do not publish things themselves. Just as the RIAA is not producing music and the MPAA doesn't film anything.

    • by DrYak ( 748999 )

      Just as the RIAA is not producing music and the MPAA doesn't film anything.

      And I though that **AA were good at producing lawsuits (bordering on frivolous).

  • MAY Backfire?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 11, 2017 @07:01PM (#54402665)

    There is no way it cannot. Eighter the courtes throw out their claims (=FAIL, notting changes), or they tell google they have to pay for what they index from the publishers, which google willst just stop doing (=FAIL, they still don't get money from google, but also wont get traffic). Or, for the insane possibility, that the courts tell google they HAVE to index the publishers AND also pay them for it, google will probably pull out of the "infected" countrys...

    • If they require that money changes hands, can they really set the direction? Google is an advertising company, and it seems these snippets are basically ads driving traffic to the publishers.

      In that case, Google can probably just charge them to have their snippets included...

    • "oogle will probably pull out of the "infected" countrys." yeah fat chance that google pull out of a first world market like the EU , or Germany. That argument is put forth again and again, but it makes no sense whatsoever. That would be roughly equivalent of google pulling out of the US market because the feds added a small fee.
      • "oogle will probably pull out of the "infected" countrys." yeah fat chance that google pull out of a first world market like the EU , or Germany. That argument is put forth again and again, but it makes no sense whatsoever. That would be roughly equivalent of google pulling out of the US market because the feds added a small fee.

        The question is "Who will feel more pain and thus give in first?" Google would not have to pull out from Germany, but simply not return snippets from German periodicals; which would result in less traffic to them and lower ad revenues, readership, etc. What is illustrative of the situation is when Google introduced opt-in as a result of the law one publisher who opted out changed their mind when their numbers took a dive. As for Google, other Google searches would still work so Google would still be a prese

      • Um, Google pulled (at least pulled google news) out of Spain (which is both first world and in-EU last time I looked) for precisely this reason.

        Arguing they won't do something they've already done before for the same reason, makes no sense whatsoever.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Google might pay them for snippets. Google has apps that use that data and generate revenue for them. Obviously to generate revenue in Germany they need to have popular German media in those apps. Since they will still be making a profit, just having to share some of it, they might pay.

    • google will probably pull out of the "infected" countrys

      That depends on the cost of doing business in the country vs the gain. Kind of like Google China which is has been doing its damnedest to get back into China after getting blocked and pulling out.

  • Because the looser of a lawsuit must pay the legal fees of the winner. And Google's lawyers are not cheap. Ouch.
    • Well which side is more loose?

    • by Sique ( 173459 )
      Attorney's fee is determined by the judge in Germany and depends on the sum of money the (civil) lawsuit is about. Whatever Google's attorneys charge, this doesn't change the attorney's fees Google is entitled if they win. (And because this is a civil lawsuit, no one fully wins, thus Google will not get all the money.)

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