Google News now opt-in in Germany as copyright law gets an overhaul

German publishers wanting to keep their content in Google News will now have to let Google know.
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

From now on, publishers wanting their content to appear on Google News in Germany will have to opt in.

On Friday, Google announced it had changed Google News from an opt-out to an opt-in system following a recent addition to German intellectual property legislation.

Germany's 'Leistungsschutzrecht' — an addendum to German copyright law that governs how aggregators can reuse media companies' content — was passed by the German parliament earlier this year.

The law allows aggregators and others to use snippets of news stories, but if they want to use more substantial chunks of content, they'll be expected to pay for it.

"In light of this development, and in light of the legal uncertainty that comes from the law, we have introduced a new confirmation system," Gerrit Rabenstein, strategic partner development manager at Google Germany, wrote on the Google Germany product blog.

Publishers that want to stay on Google News or opt out can let the search giant know using the confirmation system.

Outside of Germany, Google will continue to use the opt-out system, whereby publishers will have to take steps — such as using a robot.txt file or metadata to let Google's crawlers know what to ignore — to make sure their content isn't indexed by search giant's news aggregator.

"We are convinced that we support publishing best when we transfer millions of readers to their sites by making their content more visible and easier to find," Rabenstein said.

Not all of Europe's publishers are convinced. In recent months, both France and Germany examined the possibility of forcing Google to pay for using even snippets of media outlets' content in Google News.

Editorial standards