European newspapers, especially those in Germany, France, and Italy are upset that Google does not share ad revenue with them for headlines that come up in online searches. I am not talking about entire articles I am talking about links to articles.
My position is that Google is actually doing the newspapers a favor. By posting headlines, the online newspapers get more hits (and thus more ad revenue) than they would otherwise. In this sense, Google is providing a free service and the newspapers should be happy that Google links to them at all.
The newspapers and politicians do not see it that way and Gloves come off in Google v Germany.
Google and German newspaper publishers are poised to trade blows at a parliamentary hearing at the end of January over plans to allow Germany’s print media to charge internet search engines for displaying links to newspaper articles.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and their Free Democrat junior partners want to force online news aggregators like Google to ask permission to publish links to and excerpts of newspapers’ web offerings – an extension of copyright that many lawmakers hope will allow publishers to charge license fees of Google and its rivals.
The proposal is intended to allow newspapers better to recoup some of the revenue they have lost as advertisers and readers migrate to the web.
The legislative push is increasingly also attracting the notice of newspaper owners and politicians in other European countries such as France and Italy.
With newspapers across Europe struggling to make money, publisher groups in France, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland have joined their German peers to call for “regulation of the digital economy” and “rebalancing the economy of the web”.
Google says the campaign “Protect your web – find what you’re looking for” is a success. A spokesman told the FT some 1.5m people had visited the site since it went live late October, with 60,000 users signing up to protest against the bill.
Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger expressed shock at how the company was trying to influence public opinion. “There are other search engines than Google,” she said. Philipp Rösler, economy minister, warned Google “to watch for the difference between protecting one’s interests and misleading the public”.