Sunday 17 February 2013

Ancillary copyright law under discussion in Germany

The Judiciary Committee of the German Bundestag held on 30 January 2013 an expert hearing on the proposed "ancillary copyright" law for news publishers which will require search engines and others (yes, this includes bloggers) to ask permission from news publishers to link to their content or even give summarize news content.

The draft law was criticized by civil society groups as well as the German association of Internet economy which pointed out the lack of clarity of the terms used in the text and the negative effects that the law may bring by restricting the diversity of information on the internet. Moreover, the legislation is superfluous as publishers are already protected by copyright provisions. If this bill is enacted as-is, search engines would be allowed to display snippets only after having received permission which may involve or not some payment to the news publishers.

Meanwhile, in France, Google is under similar pressure. Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google made a statement on the company blog on 1 February 2013, in an attempt to point out that the search engine had generated "billions of clicks each month" for news publishers, "and our advertising solutions (in which we have invested billions of dollars) help them make money from that traffic."

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