Members of the European Publishers Council (EPC) have criticised the deal between Google and French publishers over copyright, remuneration and article snippets.
The group met in Brussels to discuss a number of issues, with the search engine giant’s deal with the French media to develop a €60m innovation fund designed to help them develop online news techniques, taking precedence.
Underlining the need for a copyright-aware Internet, EPC executive director, Angela Mills Wade, said: “The type of deal arranged between Google and a group of French publishers does not address the continuing problem of unauthorised reuse and monetisation of content, and so does not provide the online press with the financial certainty or mechanisms for legal redress which it needs to build sustainable business models and ensure its continued investment in high-quality content.”
Whilst the EPC represents a number of publishers in countries including Portugal, Germany, Spain and the UK, it currently has no representation in France.
Other countries publishers are not looking to go down the same route as France and are instead seeking longer term solutions founded in law.
Media representatives in Germany have been particularly vocal in their disapproval of such deals, with the Federation of German Newspaper Publishers and Federation of German Magazine Publishers issuing a combined news release on the French deal stating: “The agreement is not a model for Germany.”
A stance the EPC is fully supporting.
Angela Mills Wade added: “The EPC is supporting its members in Germany and elsewhere who are holding fast and demanding laws in their countries that would allow publishers to charge aggregators and search engines for reproducing publishers’ content.
“The proposed German law, currently in draft form, would apply to any aggregator, not just Google, and would provide a legal basis to prohibit unauthorised use of publishers’ content.”
The European Commission is currently in the process of an anti-trust investigation into Google for the alleged manipulation of its search services to direct users to its own services, reducing the visibility of competing websites, and deploying other unfair practices which harm competition.
In terms of SEO, by Google having its own products ranked higher on page one of a search, people are more likely to click on to Google’s offering.
Google itself has always denied the allegations, suggesting that it never forces users to click on their products and that it is ultimately up to the user to decide which product meets their needs.
In response to the investigation, Google has sent a proposal to the EC looking to resolve the matter.
In a similar anti-trust investigation in the US, the FTC found the Internet giant not guilty.
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