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August 26, 2016

European Commission plans new copyright laws for search engines

News: Proposals will force aggregators like Google News to agree to terms in order to show parts of stories.

By CBR Staff Writer

The European Commission is finalising copyright reforms, which could allow news organisations to charge internet giants like Google to link to their content.

The proposals, which will be published next month, will give news publishers exclusive rights to their content and force services such as Google News to agree terms to show parts of stories.

Internal documents seen by the Financial Times warn that decreasing revenues at news organisations mean the policy is required to promote “media pluralism”.

European Commission spokesperson Christian Wigand was quoted by the news agency as saying, “Let’s be clear: granting such rights to news publishers would not affect the way users share hyperlinks on the internet. It would recognise their role as investors in content.”

Germany and Spain have already changed copyright laws to allow news organisations to charge aggregators.

In October 2014, the Spanish parliament approved a new law, under which aggregation services will have to pay news sites for the links included in the search result.

Google responded to the move by closing down its news service in the country.

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The search giant claimed that introducing charges for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications was not sustainable.

In Germany, several news organisations decided to stop charging the company after big drops in traffic.

Mozilla has recently started a petition to reform the European copyright laws because the company believes they undermine innovation and creativity on the Internet.

Mozilla chief innovation officer Katharina Borchert said in a blogpost, “The current copyright legal framework is outdated. It stifles opportunity and prevents — and in many cases, legally prohibits — artists, coders and everyone else from creating and innovating online. This framework was enacted before the internet changed the way we live. As a result, these laws clash with life in the 21st century.

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