News Show: Google bows to Germany, which drops lawsuits

Germany’s competition police said it had dropped proceedings against Google for its News Showcase news service after the latter agreed to a series of adjustments in favor of press publishers.

“We were concerned that comparable offerings from other vendors would be displaced by the Google News Showcase and that participating publishers would be unfairly disadvantaged by Google”, Andras Mundt, president of the German competition authority, said in a press release. Google “addressed our concerns and made significant adjustments to benefit publishers”he added.

The Google News Showcase service, launched in December 2020 in Germany (and this year in France), was supposed to allow partner media to be paid for content relayed by the search engine on a dedicated platform. The American giant planned to integrate this new platform into the results of its main search engine, which would have resulted in an increased audience.

The anti-cartel office had, following this announcement, opened an investigation in June 2021 after it was seized by German publisher Corint Medias, which manages the rights to German radio stations, television and news sites. The publisher feared the disappearance of media referrals that had not signed agreements with Google. Google agreed last January to bar its news platform while the antitrust office investigates.

Publishers gained several adjustments upon arrival: in the future, participation or non-participation of a publisher in the Showcase offer “will be more relevant to ranking search results” by Google, explains Andras Mundt. And under Google’s new contractual practice, publishers will also be able to more easily assert their rights related to copyright through a management company.

In France, legal proceedings initiated in 2021 by the competition authority with Google resulted in more than a hundred publications, represented by two structures defending their rights, signing compensation contracts with the American giant this year under rights related to copyright.

Leave a Comment