Europe’s Publishers welcome new German law to force content aggregators and search engines to recognise copyright

Europe Uncategorized

The European Publishers Council (EPC) welcomes today’s decision by the German Bundestag to approve an ancillary copyright for news publishers in law that means that search engines and other aggregators who commercialise publishers’ content will no longer be able to do so without permission.  

The “Leistungsschutzrecht,” as it is know in German, will pave the way for commercial negotiations between the parties on the price for the commercial use of publishers’ content.

EPC Chairman and CEO of Impresa in Portugal, Francisco Pinto Balsemão, said: “The EPC welcomes this important vote in the German Bundestag today which recognises clearly in copyright law both the value and the cost of investment in professional journalistic content.”

The new law will only apply to those companies who exploit commercially third party content such as content aggregators and search engines.  The proposed provision signifies no change at all to possible uses by other users, or for consumers, bloggers or companies and associations who may use links or cite passages of published content.

News publishers can now demand that search engines and other providers of such services that aggregate their content, refrain from unauthorised forms of usage. These companies will need licences for such usage in the future.  

The EPC believes that this law will help establish a market for aggregator content. New innovative business models can now be built based on legally licensed content.

Meanwhile the EPC is actively working on creating the technical infrastructure that will facilitate the communication of online digital rights. Its project, the Linked Content Coalition, has devised a new Rights Reference Model (RRM), due to be published for comment over the next few weeks. The RRM brings together for the first time all the different licensing models and languages for all kinds of content: text, images, video, music, for example. This project seeks to solve the problem and address the criticism that it is often difficult to work out how to use online content legally – for individuals, businesses and for automated tools. 

EPC’s Executive Director, Angela Mills Wade said: “With the right legal conditions and the technical tools provided by the Linked Content Coalition, it will be easy to access and use content legally. This will mean that publishers will have the incentive to continue to populate the internet with high-quality, authoritative, diverse content and to support new, innovative business models for online content.”

EPC Members:


Mr. Francisco Pinto Balsemão, Chairman and CEO, Impresa, Portugal


Dr. Carlo de Benedetti, Chairman, Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, Italy

Mr. Jonas Bonnier, CEO, Bonnier, Sweden

Mr. Oscar Bronner, Publisher & Editor in Chief, Der Standard, Austria

Dr. Hubert Burda, Chairman and CEO, Burda Media, Germany

Mr. Juan Luis Cebrian, CEO, Groupo Prisa, Spain

Mr. Mike Darcey, Chief Executive, News International Ltd, UK

Dr. Mathias Döpfner, Chief Executive, Axel Springer AG, Germany

Mr. Erik Engstrom, Chief Executive, Reed Elsevier

Mr. Luis Enriquez, CEO, Vocento, Spain

Ms. Rona Fairhead, Chief Executive, Financial Times Group, UK

Mr. Simon Fox, Chief Executive, Trinity Mirror plc, UK

Dr. Stefan von Holtzbrinck, President and Chairman of the Executive Board, Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH, Germany

Mr. Harri – Pekka Kaukonen, CEO, Sanoma Corporation, Finland

 Dr. Torsten-Jörn Klein, Gruner + Jahr, Germany

Mr. Steffen Kragh, President and CEO, The Egmont Group, Denmark

Mr. Murdoch MacLennan, Chief Executive, Telegraph Media Group Ltd, UK

Mr Andrew Miller, Chief Executive, Guardian Media Group, UK

Mr. Piotr Niemczycki, CEO, Agora, Poland

Mr. Antonello Perricone, CEO, RCS Media Group SpA, Italy

Mr. Panayotis Psycharis, CEO, Lambrakis Press Group, Greece

Mr. Michael Ringier, President, Ringier, Switzerland

The RT. Hon. The Viscount Rothermere, Chairman, Daily Mail and General Trust, UK

Mr. Rolv Erik Ryssdal, CEO, Schibsted, Norway

Mr. Jim Smith, Chief Executive, Thomson Reuters

Mr. Christian Van Thillo, Chief Executive, De Persgroep, Belgium