There’s a tricky situation unfolding in Germany right now with regards to how search engines handle news excerpts of content from publishers. In short, the government wants to make changes that would force search engines to have to pay a fee to publishers for using news excerpts. It’s a move that many publishers would like to see happen as it would increase revenue but not everything thinks it would be beneficial.
Google, the world’s largest search provider, isn’t too happy with the idea and doesn’t believe German residents will be either. As a result, they have launched a new campaign called Defend Your Net with the goal of educating people about the proposed changes.
The search giant believes that such a law would lead to higher costs, threaten the availability of information, damage the German economy and lead to a lot of legal uncertainty. That may or may not be true depending on which side you stand on.
Google says that publishers already have the ability to opt out of being included in search result services like Google News. In fact, Google News doesn’t have any advertising so it’s not as if they are making money directly from republished news excerpts.
A number of prominent news sites rely heavily on Google search results and Google News for a large portion of their daily traffic. They claim that one news outlet in Germany gets up to 45 percent of its web traffic directly from their Google.de search engine. As a content site owner, it would be virtual suicide to voluntarily exclude your publication from that kind of exposure.
German residents are encouraged to fill out a web form to let the company know how they feel about the changes. Furthermore, they have provided a list with contact information for local parliament members should they want to take it a step further and voice their concerns directly to those representatives.