Ancillary copyright: can Google be forced to pay?
In France, the first EU country where the new European ancillary copyright law is due to come into force at the end of October, Google is refusing to pay publishers and has announced that it will only list headlines in its search results instead. Europe's media are outraged by the tech giant's response to the law.
Europe must tame online giants
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung isn't surprised by Google's reaction:
“If something doesn't fit in with the Silicon Valley companies' business model they pull out all the stops to show who's boss. This behaviour should set alarm bells ringing no matter how one may feel about the controversial ancillary copyright law, which is also contentious among publishers. It shows what Google's market clout means. Will the antitrust and media concentration laws that French politicians and publishers' associations in Germany and France want to apply be able to tackle this? It's time to put it to the test. It's up to Europe to civilise the online giants from overseas, otherwise the digital world will remain a Wild West in which the corporations have all the say - and then pass that off as some kind of wonderful freedom.”
An attack on democracy
Google's behaviour is misleading and undemocratic, explains Pierre Louette, head of the Les Echos-Le Parisien publishing group, in an interview with Les Echos:
“Google is deliberately confusing two very different things: on the one hand intellectual property and on the other a mechanism that has existed for more than 20 years: the creation of revenue through the number of hits generated by the search engine. ... This constitutes a serious attack on democracy. Not only is Google running roughshod over the spirit of the ancillary copyright law by going against the will of the legislators, it is also weakening the press, which is indispensable in a democracy - and at the same time also very useful when it comes to providing the big search engines with high-quality content.”