The German government is in the process of crafting a law that would allow publishers to charge search engines such as Google for reproducing short snippets from news articles. Yahoo, Facebook and German online startups followed Google's example last week slamming the proposal, saying that it does more harm than good.
The German publishers however, contend the law is necessary to protect publishers' rights and provide a legal basis to prohibit undesirable uses and to authorize desired uses of their content.
A Google spokesman would not comment directly on the German publishers' statement Monday, but e-mailed a previous comment on the proposed law: "An ancillary copyright endangers one of the fundamental principles of the web, the possibility to share and search for information through links. The law would let users not always find what they are searching for. It would be detrimental for jobs and growth in Germany as almost half of the German economy already depends on the Internet. We hope that the German parliament will oppose to the draft law."
Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org