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The Media News Your Rights Online

German Publishers Capitulate, Let Google Post News Snippets 95

itwbennett writes German publishers said they are bowing to Google's market power, and will allow the search engine to show news snippets in search results free of charge — at least for the time being. The decision is a step in an ongoing legal dispute between the publishers and Google in which, predictably, publishers are trying to get compensation from the search engine for republishing parts of their content and Google isn't interested in sharing revenue. The move follows a Google decision earlier this month — and which was to go into effect today — to stop using news snippets and thumbnails for some well-known German news sites.
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German Publishers Capitulate, Let Google Post News Snippets

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 23, 2014 @03:07PM (#48215229)

    They wanted Google to give them revenue or stop using their articles. So Google said, fine we will stop using your articles, good luck when you lose 65% of your daily hits since we know they come through us...

    • by FirstOne ( 193462 ) on Thursday October 23, 2014 @03:44PM (#48215509) Homepage

      Google stopped displaying snippets and thumbnails Oct 1.. German Publishers relent Oct 23..
      Now let that be another lesson for the history books..

      • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Thursday October 23, 2014 @04:11PM (#48215661)

        It's no different than the last publisher that went and got a court order forbidding Google from displaying any of their content (not realizing what that meant). A week after Google pulled everything from the index and their traffic had dropped of 95% they called up Google and offered to cut a deal (which I highly doubt Google paid a dime for).

        Personally I think Google should just take a hard line in these states like Germany and require a signed document authorizing their use in perpetuity or they yank the entire site from all their indexes. If they did it to the entire German industry all at once I doubt the state could claim it was an anti-trust violation because they would be treating everyone equally.

        • That would be overreaching, since Google now has actual competition. Trying to apply pressure too widely would drive industries to use and endorse Bing instead.

          (I don't think "anti-trust violation" means what you think it means, by the way.)

          • I'm using anti-trust in the context of how it was used in the article referenced in the summary which you didn't read. Yes the context is screwy cause I changed the tense and should have phrased it differently but if you want to play grammar nazi go play it elsewhere.

            There are two things going on as far as the antitrust authority is concerned, a Bundeskartellamt spokesman said.

            The publishers base part of their claim on a German online copyright law that came into effect last August, which gave publishers th

            • Google is a dominant player in Germany, controlling about 90 percent of the German search market. In Germany, dominant players have the obligation to handle each customer equally and are not allowed to discriminate

              However to Google the indexed sites aren't customers. People using the search aren't customers. Advertisers are Google's only customers and everyone else is product.

            • That law puts them in an impossible position. It's either pay up or don't include them in search results, and if you use the "dominant player" provision that says they aren't allowed to delist them, then their only option is to basically be forced to pay anybody who asks, which would include content farms that most people regard as useless. That would be just asking for spam of course.

            • by Sique ( 173459 )
              Google is in fact handling everyone the same. You want to get listed by Google? Don't demand money from Google. This goes for everyone. The publishers were trying to conjure up some alleged violation of antitrust law because Google was actually threatening to comply with the law and show only as much as they can according to the said law without infringing on the publisher's rights to their content, and it would have been looking differently for content the respective publisher wants money for - this conten
          • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Thursday October 23, 2014 @05:31PM (#48216165)

            I don't know if I'd call bing competition. All the computers at work are stuck with IE as the web browser, no other option. Every one of those had bing as default. I can't find a single one that hasn't been switched to Google. I know one guy who couldn't figure out how to switch it so he had to suffer with bing for a week until he got someone to show him how to change it. bing doesn't suck, it swallows.

          • I kinda doubt that. I honestly really truly believe a lot of Bing's search traffic is fake. What ever makes me say that? Well, search either engine for 'bing rewards bot' to find out.

            Basically, a lot of people get roughly $47 a month per IP address worth of amazon gift cards just by running a bing bot. If you have a lot of IP addresses, you can get a fair bit of Amazon gift card credit every month for basically doing nothing.

            • The only reason I considered using Bing was for the rewards, but they don't offer it in the UK so fuck them. Plus that twat from the bing it on ads really needs punching.
      • by Sique ( 173459 )
        Actually (if you read the article), the displaying of snippets and thumbnails was to go into effect today, Oct 23. The publishers folded in the evening of Oct 22.
    • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Thursday October 23, 2014 @03:46PM (#48215527)
      Companies pay Google to advertise for them. These companies wanted Google to pay them to advertise for them. Never did follow that logic.
    • I believe the actual concern is that with a long enough snippet, people lose interest, and instead of driving traffic to the web site, you actually detract from the traffic that gets sent to the site.

      This was a concern for U.S. newspapers as well, a few years back, but given that most of their content is syndicated off the AP newswire, or by United Press International, or by Reuters, or some other wire service, there's very little left of value in a paper that's failing to do journalism, and therefore isn't

      • by paiute ( 550198 )
        If a long snippet contains most of the information in the actual article, then that journalism is pretty damn weak anyway.
        • by JanneM ( 7445 )

          Newspaper articles are written so that all the most important information is set right at the beginning. That makes them faster and easier to read, especially if you want to skim through a lot of news. So yes, a snippet of the first paragraph or two most likely does contain most of the important information, because it's written with the readers in mind, not the advertisers or google bots.

          • by Mandrel ( 765308 )

            Newspaper articles are written so that all the most important information is set right at the beginning. That makes them faster and easier to read, especially if you want to skim through a lot of news. So yes, a snippet of the first paragraph or two most likely does contain most of the important information, because it's written with the readers in mind, not the advertisers or google bots.

            In response to news index sites using leading snippets, this inverted pyramid [wikipedia.org] article structure will increasingly give way to click-bait openings.

          • by paiute ( 550198 )
            Here's the lead snippet tonight:

            Reuters Shooter Dead At Marysville Pilchuck High School: Report (UPDATED) A shooting was reported in the cafeteria of Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington, at about 10:45 a.m., Friday.

            That's the story?

            December 7, 1941
            Dateline Pearl Harbor
            Japanese planes, explosions, morning.

  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Thursday October 23, 2014 @03:08PM (#48215235)
    I'm trying to wrap my brain around how these news outlets thought it was bad for Google to send traffic their way. Seems like any news agency would want to be a high-placed hit on Google's, or anyone else's, news listing.
    • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Thursday October 23, 2014 @03:16PM (#48215309)

      They didn't think it was bad. That's evident based on this story.
      They wanted Googles money and tried to exploit outdated laws written 100yrs ago to modern technology to try and extort that money. You know, like what every other media organization that's currently dieing because of the internet is trying to do.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's even more ridiculous than that: the relevant law is not 100 years old. It went just into effect this year thanks to a massive lobby effort by the media.
        The new law is called "Leistungsschutzrecht" (law to protect the power) and has been titulated by it's many critics as a "lex google".
        As is evident by this outcome, the whole thing backfired.
        Too bad the law has now the exact opposite effect as intended: it prevents small bloggers from citating news and allows the big google to work as before.

      • by bsolar ( 1176767 )
        Outdated laws have nothing to do with this issue, at least according to the article:

        The publishers base part of their claim on a German online copyright law that came into effect last August, which gave publishers the exclusive right to the commercial use of their content and parts thereof, except in the case of single words or small text snippets.

      • by gnupun ( 752725 )

        They wanted Googles money and tried to exploit outdated laws written 100yrs ago to modern technology to try and extort that money.

        The laws are not outdated. They allow papers to make money off their work. Google showing your slashdot comment or other non-professional content without permission is okay as you're gaining any income from your comment nor is it capable of generating much revenue.

        There is a big difference between amateur and professional content. Google should try to reach an agreement with the

        • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

          Google agreed to drop the articles. That's certainly fair. Somehow the newspapers didn't think so though. Why? Because they need Google more than Google needs them. Evidently they need that Google traffic so they must make money off it after all.

        • I've never seen a single advertisement on Google news. It may be different in Germany, but otherwise I don't see how they are making money. It's a free service. Perhaps re-enforcing their brand image, but not 'making all the money'. I am far more likely to read more details (even with the 3-2 score type of thing you mention) than to skip. (Haven't used Google News in a long time, had to re-check just now to confirm the no advertisement thing).
          • by gnupun ( 752725 )

            It may be different in Germany, but otherwise I don't see how they are making money.

            Well, they're still mulling how to make money off google news. Remember, google search and facebook also did not make any money for years after they were released. So, google news is not a non-profit, nor a charity.

            I am far more likely to read more details (even with the 3-2 score type of thing you mention)

            This is the heart of the matter... do you read every single article associated with a snippet you read? I highly doub

            • You keep mentioning how they "get paid" but never refute it. You also cleverly do not include my mention that I don't use the service. The copyright holders that get extra clicks should be paying google for the adsense , not the other way around. you are quite simply incorrect on this matter. I do not work for google company. (disclaimer)
            • You pretend that Google displaying more than the headline and the link would keep people away from visiting the news site.
              That is just outright wrong.

              1. If Google didn't display the link at all, there would be no people to not visit this link.
              2. The newspapers themselves often put the most essential bit of information in the headline.
              3. Google sends MILLIONS of visitors per month to the newspapers.Even if it was true that displaying some of the content would stop some people from following the link, the net

              • by gnupun ( 752725 )

                You pretend that Google displaying more than the headline and the link would keep people away from visiting the news site.

                A Google news link has the same format as a slashdot story link. Google news shows the title of the story and a small snippet copied from a copyrighted article. Are you telling me there are no slashdotters who went to the comment section without RTFA? There are plenty, and so your statement is completely false. Google news snippets can and will prevent newspapers from getting the page hi

        • by Anonymous Coward

          there's a nice little bit of technology available for quite some time right now. Actually two pieces of technology. One is called robots.txt in which you can tell globally not to index (or follow) links in a directory of your page. The other is to add a meta tag to your web site (META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX")

          I'm quite sure google follows at least one of these quasi-standards. Both are quite old, the meta-tag one is from 1996 or so, IIRC.

          But hey, why tell someone not to index your site when you actua

        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          Actually, the papers lobbied hard for the law and got it. Then they held up the law and made their demand. Google replied, "your wish is my command". Then the papers collectively said "EEEEEEEKK!, er, uh, could we go back to the way it was before?". Google kindly obliged.

          Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's why they gave in. They knew that showing up on Google's search results with a small text sample is very big in traffic to their web sites. However, they wanted to exploit some legal triviality to demand that Google pay them for the privilege of increasing public awareness of their articles.

      Google made the only intelligent choice when faced with such idiotic demands, and the Germans involved made the only not-entirely-suicidal choice when faced with Google's decision.

    • by pla ( 258480 )
      I'm trying to wrap my brain around how these news outlets thought it was bad for Google to send traffic their way.

      Because they myopically stop thinking at "Google steals our content, grar!"

      On a somewhat more excusable level, they just haven't yet come to terms with how people read news today. People (under 60) don't casually read the whole newspaper over breakfast anymore; they go to a news aggregation site and skim the headlines. When they find something of interest, they click through to read more
    • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday October 23, 2014 @03:36PM (#48215447) Homepage Journal

      20 years ago, you woke up in the morning, heard a "phhhpmp" at the front door, went over, saw the newspaper that you pay to get delivered every morning on your carpet under the letterbox, would grab it, take it to the table, make yourself breakfast, and then read. You'd read news from that newsppaer. That newspaper would take on the honored (or not so honored in some paper's cases) role and responsibility of guiding you through what's happening in the world. To that paper, that position was a relationship to be developed, nurtured, built upon. Your loyal readers would come back day after day, they'd actually subscribe.

      Today, you visit a website on your tablet, phone, or PC, usually multiple times a day. Britney Spears' nosejob is a click away from your Twitter stream to the CNN website. An email comes in, and you, on the recommendation of your friend, reading a Huffington Post article about cats. Then you get another email from your mother, and you're on healthy-stuff.com reading about the seven fruits that might stop you getting cancer. Oh, and a person walks by your desk, and says "Did you hear? OMG you didn't? It's everywhere, terrorists just attacked the Dallas book depository, hundreds dead!", and where do you go?

      Well, Google, You go to Google. You enter "dallas", and you already have a choice of articles to read, but you click on "More news about Dallas" and there are 50,000 breaking news articles about the incident at the book depository, including articles from news organizations you've never heard of, that are local to Dallas, whose views and coverage you'll respect for this one story... and then never visit again.

      At no point have you ever said "You know, I'm going to get my news from the St Olaf Bugle, I'm looking forward to reading it tomorrow."

      That is what they're afraid of. That's why several publishers are getting out of the newspaper business altogether, it's why Rupert Murdoch keeps doing stupid things like buying social media networks and starting enewspapers for tablets, and it's why German newspapers are not overly enthusiastic about having their work featured on Google News.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It may be difficult to build a positive reputation under these circumstances, but it's not hard to build a negative one.
        When looking through Google news, I actively avoid FOX news for example, because they crash my browser.
        I use to consider the Christian Science Monitor somewhat respectable despite the name, until they started with bait-and-switch paywalled articles. Now I avoid them too.

        So, reputation still matters. All you have to do is don't fuck it up like these assclowns did.

      • You lost me when you said something about there being books in Texas...

      • by Sique ( 173459 )
        Actually, they wanted their work featured on Google News and get paid for it. Google said that they will only show so much of their work as they can do freely according to the law. But now the conundrum for the publishers came up: If Google shows the snippets including a thumbnail of the featured picture, the publishers fear people will just skim that and not click through to their site to read the article. That's why they wanted to be compensated for those people just skimming. But if Google only shows the
        • Actually, they wanted their work featured on Google News and get paid for it.

          I know. Why do you think they want to be compensated for it, if, as the original poster argued, the mere presence of their work in search results is positive compared to search results existing where they're not present?

          Their problem is the existence of search results to begin with. They want compensation from the fact they have to exist in an environment that's actively hostile towards the way they're structured, and they don'

  • When I search for news sights I use the little snippet under the link to see if that's the article I want to read, I don't just want to first paragraph nowadays, especially since most "news" sites wrtie like magazines instead of newspapers. Gone are the days of reading one paragraph that summarizes the whole story, they're full of fluff and links to "relevant" articles that I don't click on (mostly cause it's harder and harder to tell what's spam or malware type sites vs legitimate ones.
  • No, wait, do-over! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Thursday October 23, 2014 @03:14PM (#48215295) Journal
    "Wait wait wait! We still want the free advertising that comes from Google's use of our content! We just want Google to pay us for the privilege of giving us a service we would otherwise have to pay for, in exchange for displaying content we already give away for free online!"

    Sad. I get so sick of people griping about the effects of Amazon and Google (etc), without giving a second thought to just how much they already get in return for the relationship. Same idea goes for Amazon and Hachette - They have every right to refuse to sell at the price Amazon wants; they'll just never sell another eBook.
    • The Amazon-Hachette deal is a completely different situation. Amazon is using its market power to strong-arm Hachette into providing lower prices to Amazon than Hachette offers to other resellers. This is a classic case of collusion, and should be stopped on anti-trust grounds.

      • by Ferzerp ( 83619 )

        You're accusing Amazon of colluding with.... Amazon? That word doesn't mean what you think it means.

        • by pla ( 258480 )
          Beat me to it.

          As I said - Rational thought just seems to hit a brick wall when you mention the likes of Amazon and Google. Free advertising becomes stealing (free) content; one-on-one vendor negotiation becomes collusion.
      • by Stormy Dragon ( 800799 ) on Thursday October 23, 2014 @03:58PM (#48215595) Homepage

        There certainly is an anti-trust issue here, but it's on the Hatchette side, not the Amazon side:

        E-book price fixing settlements rolling out [usatoday.com]

        In December, a judge approved settlements involving book publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin after a federal court ruled they conspired with Amazon rival Apple. In the lawsuit, the Justice Department claimed Apple conspired with book publishers to fix prices in order to thwart a discount initiative from Amazon.

        Hatchette is now trying to reinstate the price-fixing it just got fined $69 million over via other avenues. And of course all the usual idiots are falling for the "Ooo, Amazon evil!" propaganda because Hatchette is the publisher for a lot of high power media personality who can go on TV and pretend this is all about "the little guy" rather than padding thier own pockets.

      • by pla ( 258480 )
        The number of people required for "Collusion" aside - Not as different as you might think.

        Both situations involve a company providing a distribution channel for third party content creators. Both situations involve those third parties thinking they have an unconditional "right" to access that channel. Both situations involve those third parties pissing and moaning over the owner of that channel not actually caring in the least about the loss of any particular group of content producers.

        I'll admit that
      • No. Amazon simply said 'We don't sell ebooks at those prices, so lower or go elsewhere.' There was no attempt to prevent Hachette from going to other resellers.

        • That doesn't make it not an anti-trust issue. It's an anti-trust issue because Amazon has outsized power in the e-book market, and if Amazon were able to negotiate a discount from Hachette, then that would likely be a discount that other vendors could not get, making it harder for other e-book vendors to compete with Amazon.
    • And Google gets nothing out of the relationship I hear you say. The web sites are only leaches that exist solely because of Google. As if, if Google didn't exist someone else wouldn't step in to fill the niche. Google makes money because they have a lot of sites indexed. Let them cut off whole swaths of Europe say, or North America, and another search engine will take its place. As for Amazon, sure I get cheap books. But I no longer have as many bookstores I can go to, to look at books, find something I mig
      • by pla ( 258480 )
        And Google gets nothing out of the relationship I hear you say.

        You'll feel relieved, then, to know that modern atypical antipsychotics work much better, and with far fewer side effects, than the old-school phenothiazines.

        Of course Google gets something out of the relationship. Google exists to make money. They don't, however, sell news. They don't sell content. They sell us. And in that regard, Google really doesn't care in the least if the newspapers decide to play ball or give up the single best
        • You'll feel relieved, then, to know that modern atypical antipsychotics work much better, and with far fewer side effects, than the old-school phenothiazines.

          Glad they're working for you.

    • Just waiting for things to go 180deg...

      If some companies get benefit from free advertising by google, perhaps they'll get even more benefit if they greased it with a little bit of payola [wikipedia.org]... You know, kinda how yelp does things... ;^)

  • Apparently the publishers didn't want to exercise that right.
  • The law they had their cronies enact is still on the books. It's only Google that no longer has to give a shit about it, but it's still there to threaten innovation.

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Thursday October 23, 2014 @03:55PM (#48215577)

    We're talking about a country where you can't even rent out DVDs you own, unless you have an official licensed rental copy. This is where GEMA (their RIAA) priced Youtube out of the market per play. This is a country that supports making art owners pay artists a residual on art they own upon sale/auction (imagine you had to pay bricklayers or carpenters like this when selling a house). Similiar to england, you also have to pay taxes on every radio you own, every monitor (as it can be used as a TV, in theory).

    Used to be that you had to have a monitor and was a quasi voluntary tax you could avoid saying you didn't have any of that (but the harassment was not worth it), as of 2013, every household has to be 18 euro /month ($22.75) regardless of TV or radio usage. We're talking about over $7.5B a year for truly shitty programming.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

    Germany rose up in the 19th Century as an industrial power very quickly because they had cheap books, people could own an entire bookshelf's worth for a fraction of what it cost in England. A lot looser IP or even for some time, no IP. Now copyright holders and entrenched interest strangle everything.

    Despite having a decent software industry, Germany is having a tough time keeping up with the internet. Nearly all the good ideas are implemented first in America and elsewhere, and then come to them. If the legislators allow it. The entrenched interests fight awfully hard.

    They are certainly losing out to feed old and dying interests.

    • You don't pay taxes on radio in the UK. You pay a license fee to access TV channels. This also pays for the radio channels and broadcast to the world in loads of languages. Most telly is rubblish, but the quality of the radio stations that are free from the BBC to the world are amazing. They are not the only great content, but blimey, I'd miss it if I had to rely on FOX etc. I also love a Canadian indie internet radio show, and an odd New York independant. The World Service is fantastic. It is more inform
    • It may very well be the types of software that I've looked at, but almost every time I see that a particular piece of software has a German developer, the English support is non-existent or poor at best. Which is quite surprising to me as ~65% of the population speaks English. [wikipedia.org]. Contrast that to Russian (~6%) or Czech (~27%), which (in my experience) has been much more friendly|open to English support|forums|help files.
  • Am I the only one in welcoming this outcome, because loathing strong-arm monopolies, err... monopolies period...?

  • So, maybe losing all your content visibility on Google was worse than them publishing a small article headline?

    So, maybe, just maybe, Google's exposure was actually to your advantage?

    So maybe you've been biting the hand that feeds you?

    If the threat of Google doing EXACTLY what you ask for (taking your content off their site) is enough to make you back down, maybe your original intention was something other than was stated?

    Maybe you just wanted a free payment?

    And maybe Google weren't being so evil in the fir

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