When I want to catch up on the latest news, I find myself loading up Google News to find a variety of topics and sources. Not only does Google offer me many sources, but they also bring traffic to the numerous news sites that catch my attention. So I was surprised to hear that in Germany, the government wants to put costly restrictions on the search giant for providing headlines and snippets of news sources.
The argument for this proposed restriction is that any online or offline use of content should result in the publishers being compensated. Now it would make more sense if Google was providing the full content of the news articles on their site instead of sending you to the source, but all they are doing is giving users the headline and a short tease.
It appears that many German publishers are on board with the government, but do they really realize what they are asking for? If Google decides to not pay each publisher and instead removes the content, the news stories will reach fewer people. Since the online news sites are looking to draw more visitors so that their numbers look better for advertisers, isn’t this going to fight against their goal?
A Google spokesperson spoke out against the governments proposal saying that “We don’t have any sympathy for these plans, as an ancillary copyright lacks all factual, economic, and legal foundation. And we are not alone with this opinion: The Federation of German Industries (BDI) and 28 other associations vehemently oppose an ancillary copyright for publishers. The German parliament is divided on the issue as well. For a good reason: An ancillary copyright would mean a massive damage to the German economy. It’s a threat to the freedom of information. And it would leave Germany behind internationally as a place for business… Publishers should be innovative in order to be successful.”
I would love to hear your opinion on the situation. Do you agree with the German government’s plan or do you think it will cause more harm than good? Leave a comment and let us know.
Source: Information Week