October 2, 2014 Last Updated 3:18 pm

Google says ‘Nein’ to paying German newspapers to show excerpts of news items and images

The search giant Google said that it will not pay German newspapers for permission to show excerpts of news items and thumbnails of images as part of its search results. As a result, beginning on October 9th, search results for such websites as for the newspaper Bild will now only show a headline, Philipp Justus, Managing Director, Google Germany said in a post on Wednesday.

The action comes because of legal action taken by several German publishers that are members of VG Media, a partnership of 25 media companies tasked with protecting the copyright and intellectual property rights of its members. VG Media has taken Google to court to demand payment for displaying excerpts and images as part of its search results.

“We regret this legal approach very much because every publisher could always decide whether and how its contents are displayed in our services themselves,” Justus said. “Against the background of this action, we will not show snippets and thumbnails of some famous websites like bild.de, bunte.de or hoerzu.de, those publishers who are organised in VG Media. For these pages we will show only the link to the article and its headline. Other big German providers have completely removed the content of members of the VG Media.”

The dispute has escalated due to a new German law, which went into effect last year, that requires search engines such as Yahoo, Google and others, to only display single word or very brief excerpts in their search results. It requires that providers pay the publishers to provide more extensive excerpts.

Googles says it has paid German advertising partners over one billion euros over the past three years.

“For all these reasons, many news providers choose to make their content via the Google Search or Google News available ‒ von FAZ bis Süddeutsche, von Spiegel bis Zeit ‒ a total of around 5,000 German news sites,” Justus said.

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