Google News switches German publishers to opt-in to avoid royalties from new copyright law

Google News switches German publishers to opt-in to avoid royalties from new copyright law

Google announced on Friday that it is changing its Google News service in Germany to have publishers opt in to the system in order to preemptively avoid an intellectual property law that was recently signed in the country.

Gerrit Rabenstein, Strategic Partner Development Manager for Google Germany, outed the news in an official blog post. The move marks a rare exception for the company, as Google states that all other countries will continue on with including content published openly on the Internet in the news service. Non-German publishers hoping to opt out will need to use a robot.txt file or notify Google directly.

Google has had some trouble with publishers in Europe in the past. Last year, the company resolved a lengthy dispute with Belgian press over complaints that cached versions of articles violated copyrights. The deal was seen as a win for Google, as it brought publishers back into the fold by agreeing to help promote them on its ad products, Google+ and mobile devices.

As friend of TNW Rude Baguette noted at the time:

There is NO way that French & German press are getting money out of Google for royalties. It would open flood gates from so many other media companies – it’s cheaper to block them and take the loss of traffic, than to set precedent for paying for content on the Internet.

Google also reached an agreement with French publishers about digitizing their out-of-print books last year. This February, the company created a €60m Digital Publishing Innovation Fund as an alternative solution to paying for Google News links.

Photo credit: Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

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