German digital publishers agree to allow Google to display news snippets

23 Oct 2014

A legal battle between search giant Google and German digital publishers, including Axel Springer, has resulted in the publishers allowing Google to produce article snippets in search results.

A consortium of 200 digital publishers under the name VG Media sued Google earlier this year, demanding payment for snippets of articles that appear in search results or in Google News.

They were reacting to the watering down of copyright laws in Germany to excuse Google from a requirement to pay for the display of snippets.

Google responded by stopping the display of snippets and images, only using the headline and link instead.

However, no doubt feeling the pressure on traffic as a result, the publishers have now granted Google ‘free consent’ to include snippets.

In a statement, the publishers said the action not to show images resulted in putting them under financial pressure.

The publishers said they were forced to bow down due to the market power of Google and otherwise would risk lost revenue, which may also lead to more bankruptcies.

Google, they say, controls 90pc of the market for search in Europe.

Electronic media image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years