Some of Germany’s top news publishers have been fighting Google over the use of text snippets from their articles on the search engines news aggregation service. Despite the fact that those news snippets are used to drive traffic to the article, and as a result increase advertising views on the news sites, the German government ruled back in February that only a very brief snippet could be used, and anything more would require a paid license. It wasn’t exactly a win for the publishers, who originally wanted to force Google into paying for even the slightest snippet, but Google decided that they would make Google News an opt-in service for the publishers once the new copyright law went into effect on August 1.
Once August 1 came around though, top German news publishers, including Bild, Die Welt, Spiegel Online and Zeit Online, remained on Google News. Google didn’t actually mess up and forget to implement the opt-in change… the very news publishers that lobbied against Google chose to still opt-in. Apparently the web traffic produced by Google News was too big to give up.
If you think the publishers have fully surrendered, they haven’t. Springer AG, the publisher of Bild and Die Welt, told the AP that it is still expecting to see a ruling in the future that will require Google to compensate them for driving traffic to Springer AG publications. The whole situation seems a bit comical and it appears that German news publishers want to have their cake and eat it too.