Here’s an argument to consider: you’re a content publisher and you recently wrote a description of a product or service, posted it on a site and were compensated for your services. Then another company comes along, and charges people money, either in the form of advertisements or market share, to display your descriptions and services. Should you then be entitled to some of that revenue, since they used what you created to generate sales and profits?
Courts in Belgium have ruled in favor of allowing publishers to get a piece of the action when it comes to search engines displaying content that the web crawlers themselves didn’t originally create. Now a similar case is happening in Germany.
“A group representing about half the major news publishers in Germany have a started an arbitration process demanding that Google pay 11% of revenue related to listing links to and descriptions of their content,” reported Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand.com.
When this goes to the German courts, there will be a couple of things to consider. First, does Google (and similar search engines) violate copyright law when they pull and post snippets from other industries? The courts will have to look closely at that line.
Second, the publishers are asking for 11 percent, which may be hard to pin down. How much actual revenue does Google make when showing certain results? That may be difficult to calculate.
No matter what side you may be on, one thing’s for sure, the precedent that is being set will affect the future of search.