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The Battle for Information: Newspapers Want a Share from Google Revenue for Using Their Links

by graceedens graceedens (2020-02-13)

Google is battling it out with the German government as the country, together with Italy and France, is currently looking into a proposed legislation that will allow newspaper publishers to charge Google with certain fees for showing links to the articles and newspapers on its search engine results.


The company has been advertising campaigns against the passing of the law, which is still in the process of being reviewed in the German parliament within this week. After launching a German language Google Website last November 27, Google had posted in its website a statement to the public in German, translated as “For you it would be so much more difficult in the Internet to find the information that you seek. Defend your network, a single intervention against this world, mixing it for yourself and share this page with your friends!”


Due to the heavy economic losses suffered by the newspaper industry following the rise of search engines and the availability of information through these Internet tools, the publishers have demanded that they should have a share in Google revenue from search engine queries conducted in Germany, Italy, and France. Newspaper publishers have suffered huge difficulties in making money out of their news gathering efforts through the sale of printed newspapers, because more people are getting their daily dose of news online rather than purchasing the published version on the stands. They are hoping that the governments of the countries would make it possible for them to monetize their news articles on the Web.


Google’s country director for Germany, have blatantly stated that the company is at its fullest efforts to fight the law, as it will make online information on these countries less available to the consumers and that this will incur higher costs for companies, who often use websites and search engines as a low-cost avenue for generating more profits and increasing the visibility of their businesses. “We ask every Internet user to advocate to defend the access to and the variety of information on the net and to protect search. We hope the German Bundestag will reject the bill,”


The proposed legislation aims to “give publishers more say over how their articles are used on the Web,” as stated in The Financial Times. Google and other search engines will have to be charged with a license fee and ask for the publishers’ permission to display links and snippets of the news articles. The Economist reported that Rupert Murdoch, a news publisher, called Google and other search engines “content kleptomaniacs”.


Although efforts to monetize news publishers might soon be in effect in the three countries, it is unlikely that the same efforts will succeed in the United States, where news publishers also suffer the terrible fate of low readership and profits through published news materials. Google was providing an avenue for readers to reach newspaper articles through the Internet, so the thought of a similar source of profit for news publishers is not on its way. Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst for Poynter, stated that the US government had already conducted studies regarding the issue, and it’s highly unlikely that Americans would want the government to subsidize the newspaper industry. “That whole thing has not really caught on in the U.S., plus Google has money for lawyers and lobbyists to fight such efforts here,”

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