Germany’s biggest news publisher Axel Springer has withdrawn its demands that Google pay content licensing fees for news snippets from its publications after restricted access caused its traffic to plunge by nearly 40 percent.
In June, fee-collecting body VG Media – a consortium of publishers including Axel Springer – sued Google over the issue. Google responded in October by halting its indexing of news snippets and thumbnails of VG Media content, instead only displaying headlines.
According to Axel Springer representatives the company was at the risk of loosing its market share if it continued with its demands to Google. Under a new ‘free license’, Axel Springer is allowing Google to display portions of text from news stories published by four of its sites: welt.de, computerbild.de, sportbild.de, and autobild.de.
Google said in a statement to the WSJ that its search engine sends over 500 million clicks to German publishers each month and the advertising partnerships with them have generated more than €1bn in revenue for German publishers in the last three years.
The battle over copyright is likely far from over, however. Incoming digital chief for the European Commission, Günther Oettinger, last week suggested Google be slugged with a copyright tax if it uses European intellectual property.