Wednesday, March 27, 2013

German "Leistungsschutzrecht"

German parliament just recently passed a law called the Leistungsschutzrecht that is, for all practical purposes, an attempt by the government to make Google pay German publishers for repeating a snippet of the text on their search result pages. Of course, Google drives a lot of traffic their way, but that is not enough for the publishers, they want more.

Enter the Leistungsschutzrecht. It is, of course, being celebrated as a wonderful way to "regulate" that nasty Internet, but the problem is, that it is also making life difficult for bloggers. We are putting ourselves at danger of steep legal fees for take-down orders if we use part of an article we refer to. And since the links are often the first sentence of what we are writing about, there is some concern that the links themselves might be problematic. The law is quite vague on the point of what exactly is allowed and what is not.

Oh, the publishers say, if you're not making money, you don't have to worry. I'm not so sure about that. And so I will refrain from referring to any of the publishers who are behind this law - and there are lots of them:

Hope to be back to regular blogging - sans links to German press - after Easter.


  1. "Oh, the publishers say, if you're not making money, you don't have to worry."

    Isn't this the same as a street thug saying:

    "Oh, if you're not having money, you don't have to worry."

    I feel save already ... ;-)

    And perhaps I would like to get paid for my work. Even if I don't do it for the money, it's a nice way to get honest feedback. Flattery is cheap, money is not.

    Unfortunately, this ties into the "lawyers, not arguments" posting -- only here it's "lawyers, not new business models". I wonder whether the law wasn't intended as a blow against bloggers in the first place -- after all, they could be seen as competition and most don't have the resources for a legal fight. Make the situation more complicated, increase the insecurity when posting ... everyone invested in the status quo wins (and many, many creative people lose).

    Hmm, but an interesting solution to stop linking to these newspapers. I hope Google stops showing results on these pages ... that would send a nice message.

  2. Mostly it is just the WAZ group, Gruner + Jahr/Bertelsmann and Springer. Nothing important but it seems to be enough to scare the already 'Peer' scared SPD. "We are defenseless but not honourless." Yeah.