Blog | ClickThrough Marketing

German Publishers Now Have To 'Opt In' To Google News

Written by Martin Boonham | 05 Aug 2013

New rules in Germany mean publishers now need to opt in to Googles's News service.

While many have chosen to opt in now the tight copyright rules have come in to play, others have warned their dispute with the Internet giant is far from over: some have even refused to opt in at all.

While Google always stood by claims its News offerings focusses on user experience and generating millions of visitors to a news site as of a result of it, many German publishers felt this was not the case and were adamant they would no longer allow Google to apparently cash in on displaying partial amounts of their news item.

The stand off came to boiling point earlier in the year when the search engine firm said German publishers would have to select to opt in to have snippets shown on Google News, a move which officially came into play on August 1.

The problem remains however as to how the Leistungsschutzrecht ancillary copyright law, which is governing Germany's approach to Google News, defines what a snippet is: the main issue being, it doesn't, leaving publishers and Google alike no clear definition of how many words it can show in its News section before being in breech of the law.

By opting in to the service, German publishers are therefore sacrificing their ability to call on the law if they feel the Internet giant is taking advantage of their content.

But some, such as Axel Springer AG, have only opted in as a 'temporary measure while the company lays the legal and technical groundwork to charge aggregators for their use of its material'.

Axel Springer AG spokesman, Hendrik Lange, said its approval to display snippets from its sites: "could be revoked at any time and occurred without accepting Google's one-sided conditions."

However, Google Germany spokesman, Kay Oberbeck, believes the News service is essential to German publishers.

He said: "Google News is an important platform for publishers and users alike to inform and be informed through a broad variety of sources.

"We will keep working together with publishers to support them in making the most out of their digital content"

He further added hundreds of publishers had already given Google their consent.

Not all publishers have chosen to follow suit however, Rhein-Zeitung, one of Germany's oldest online news sites, has declined to opt in to Google News at all.

News brought to you by ClickThrough – a best practice digital marketing agency.