German Publishers Opt-In To Google News — For The Moment

Following the enactment of a controversial copyright law in Germany, Google said that it would require publishers to formally “opt-in” to Google News or be excluded from results. Accordingly major German publishers have decided to do so — for now.

The new law, which went into effect today and gives publishers almost total control over the use of their content, still allows news aggregators and search engines to show “single words” and modest “text excerpts” but creates legal uncertainty and potential liability for those who misinterpret the rules.

What qualifies as a “text excerpt”? That’s a potential decision for a German court. Google’s new opt-in policy for Google News in Germany thus seeks to avoid any ambiguity about German publisher consent and thereby preclude any claim against Google under the new law.

According to the AP, German publishers have opted in as a matter of temporary expediency but intend to still “come after” Google for fees:

Axel Springer AG – publisher of the mass-circulation tabloid Bild and national daily Die Welt – said the decision to opt into Google News was a temporary measure while the company lays the legal and technical groundwork to charge aggregators for their use of its material.

The publisher’s approval to display snippets from its sites could be revoked at any time and occurred “without accepting Google’s one-sided conditions,” spokesman Hendrik Lange said.

Google believes that inclusion in Google News benefits publishers by sending them traffic. The publishers, who effectively sponsored the new, restrictive copyright law believe that Google steals their readership and turns them into commodity providers of content.

Among the major newspaper publishers the AP reports that Rhein-Zeitung decided not to opt-in and so will no longer be included in Google News:

[O]ne Germany’s oldest online news sites said it was breaking with Google. Rhein-Zeitung, based in the western city of Koblenz, declined to opt in to Google News as the new law came into effect, saying it had decided to stop “giving away” its own material online for free.

This sets up a very interesting test case: will those who decline to be included in Google News see their metrics improve or fall? In addition, how will publishers such as Axel Springer try to extract fees from Google when the company has set up what amounts to a “complete defense” (explicit consent) to any claim of liability under the new law?

Related Entries

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Business Issues | Google: Critics | Google: Legal | Google: News | Google: Outside US | Legal | Legal: Copyright | Top News

Sponsored


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



SearchCap:

Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  

Share

Other ways to share:
 

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • lilian strutt

    as Jacob responded I’m alarmed that a student able to earn $4764 in a few weeks on the internet. did you see this webpage w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

  • Tim Jordan

    If you could not google a tree falling in the woods then it did not happen.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide