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Google opposes German parliament in link fee dispute

The German parliament is about to propose new legislation that will have search engines pay online newspapers in order to display links and snippets of their articles.

Search engines, like Google, will have to seek permission from newspapers to publish links to their articles; the newspapers will be able to charge for giving this permission to them.

In response, Google has initiated a public campaign in Germany, entitled ‘Protect your web – find what you’re looking for’, adding heat to the battle for free access to information in Germany.

It’s not the first time Google has ‘gone public’ in campaigning for free access to information. Similar pleas were made in France, along with threats of blacking out any sites that would charge for the publishing of their links.

Likewise, Google has threatened to block any German news sites that try to charge fees, arguing that having search engines pay for their content is not only harmful for internet traffic, but for the freedom of the Internet itself.

While some politicians in Germany are assured that the new legislation will pass, Google maintains that it is not a threat to media business in Germany or in France, stating that they provide billions of clicks a month towards various media sites.