Google has claimed victory over a group of German publishers over who has rights to online news articles that are displayed as part of Google’s search results.
As reported here in June, the group of German publishers, collectively named VG Media, were claiming that search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing were in violation of Germany’s ancillary copyright law. The collective that includes big names like Axel Springer SE and Burda, believed that Google and other search engines were in breach of the ancillary law when search results included online news from their members.
The 2013 ancillary copyright law states that search engines are allowed free use of single words and very small text excerpts. VG Media felt that Google were going beyond this, by publishing larger sections of news within its search results. In consequence, a press release from VG Media said that they would expect “payments from any company that it considers to infringe on the ‘ancillary copyright’ of its members.” The publisher wanted an 11% payment every time their content appears on pages where there are ads present.
However, last week VG Media’s attempts to take on Google seemed to come to nothing. In a statement given on Friday, Andreas Mundt, president of Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, said: “Sufficient suspicion is always necessary to initiate an abuse procedure. The complaint from VG Media did not establish this.”
The cartel office also went on to say that the scope of the new ancillary copyright legislation was not yet entirely clear; however, it said that it would be monitoring Google’s reaction to publisher’s demands and launch antitrust proceedings if they were warranted.