Saturday, March 2, 2013

German Copyright Law Targets Google Links; New York Times, 3/1/13

Melissa Eddy, New York Times; German Copyright Law Targets Google Links: "As originally proposed by the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel last year, the law was seen as a clear attempt by a European government to force big Internet companies like Google to share some of the billions of euros they earn from the sale of advertising placed alongside the news that Google links to. But a last-minute change, proposed last week by the Free Democratic Party, the junior partner in Ms. Merkel’s government, allowed for the use of “individual words or the smallest excerpts of text” free, meaning that only those companies who reproduce full texts for commercial use will be required to compensate the news publishers. The weakened bill passed Germany’s lower house, the Bundestag, 293 to 243. But it will require approval by Germany’s upper house, the Bundesrat, which is controlled by the Social Democrats and the Greens, in the opposition, which have sought to have the bill scrapped altogether. ...critics contend that a watering-down law not only fails to grant full legal clarity to either of the two sides but also opens the door to long legal disputes over the exact definition of a snippet and how much text can be legally reproduced by the search engines without incurring charges.

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