Meeting this week in Brussels, Members of the European Publishers Council criticised the deal between Google and French publishers clinched last week to settle the dispute over copyright, remuneration and article snippets.
Underlining the need for a copyright-aware internet, EPC’s Executive Director Angela Mills Wade said that “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 French publishers have agreed to work with Google by accepting a deal whereby Google creates a 60 million euro innovation fund to help them leverage Google’s tools and ad programmes, in other member states publishers are seeking longer term solutions founded in law.
The EPC stressed the importance firstly of respect for intellectual property rights and secondly, a speedy result from DG Competition to restore competition to search and search advertising.
The EPC’s Executive Director stressed that “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.”
Francisco Pinto Balsemão, EPC’s Chairman added: “A satisfactory conclusion to the competition complaints against Google is crucial to a competitive and transparent market in search and search advertising”.
Google is under investigation for manipulating its search services to direct users to its own services, reducing the visibility of competing websites, and deploying other unfair practices which harm competition. The outcome of the EU’s anti-trust cases is expected shortly.