Copyright: dispute between Google and publishers goes to Court of Justice

the dispute between now deal with the European Court of Justice (ECJ) Google and publishers to the remuneration of extracts from articles in the news search is. As communicated by the competent for the procedure Civil Chamber 16 of the Landgericht Berlin, she considers a decision of the European Court of Justice on two questions of law necessary.

 VG media vs. Google (image: VG media/Google) which had VG media in a January 2016 civil suit against Google filed arbitration between the two parties had failed by 2015. The amount of remuneration that may be entitled to the publishers due to the 2013 adopted copyright is debatable. It provides while published for “Words or smallest snippets of text”, Google, for example, in the message search, no compensation – what can be regarded as “smallest text snippets”, not defined the law however. The same applies to the amount of compensation.

the District Court of Berlin want to know now of the Court of Justice whether the copyright due to a missing formality at all can be applied. The German legislature have caused no notification procedure before the Court of Justice of the performance rights. A law is thus informed the Commission and the other Member States before it becomes effective in the State of their own. The procedure should give the EU the possibility to review the law.

“The Civil Chamber 16 assumes, that the complaint would be based partially, if the provisions of the Copyright Act are applicable”, according to a the Court opinion. “That was only the case on the basis of the case-law of the European Court of Justice but, if a notification procedure had been done.”

Furthermore, the ECJ will clarify whether in the performance rights to “technical” provisions in the sense of Directive 98/34/EC of 20 July 1998. This question is obviously relevant to decide whether Google a random or targeted “services of the information society within the meaning of article 1(2) of the directive” provides.

the proceedings before the District Court of Berlin is provisionally or be suspended until a ruling from Luxembourg. Until then, it should be decided how big a free excerpt must be and is entitled to the publishers for “larger” snippets which compensation. In addition, the applicant requests information about the amount of the advertising income from the sale of ads alongside the news summaries of publishers to determine the amount of possible compensation.

September 2016 the EU presented its own plans for a reform of copyright law in Europe which include a performance rights for Publisher. You should be legally equated with film producers and phonogram producers. The ECO and BITKOM industry associations criticized the draft as hostile to innovation and “Aberration”. The Federal Association of German newspaper publishers and the Association of German magazine publishers, however, welcomed the reform proposals. They were “an important signal for the press diversity and democracy”.


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