Thursday, December 9, 2021
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Google signs ‘milestone’ deal with German media cos, to pay for online content

In recent times Big Tech cos have run into a wide range of disputes with Brussels and EU member states over taxation and abuse of their dominant market power

Amid tightening noose around the business model of Big Tech companies across the globe, US tech major Google entered into a “milestone” deal with a number of German media outlets to pay for the use of their content online.

According to the company, this is the first of its kind of agreement with publishers in Germany after the country legislated on so-called neighbouring rights, developed from an EU copyright directive and which have been at the heart of multiple disputes between internet giants and the media over payment for the use of online and other content.

German newspapers Zeit, Handelsblatt and Tagesspiegel, as well as weekly magazines such as Spiegel, WirtschaftsWoche and Manager Magazin, among others, are party to the deal with the American tech company.

“For both us and our partners, these copyright agreements represent a milestone in strengthening successful partnerships,” Google said in a blog post, adding that it was pursuing discussions with other publishers.

“Platforms like Google are important partners for us, not least because they bring a lot of traffic to our websites and we can commercially leverage this reach,” Rainer Esser, managing director of the publishing group behind German weekly newspaper Zeit said. The two sides had found a “mutually beneficial solution”, managing director of Spiegel Stefan Ottlitz said in a statement. Details as to the size of the deal were not given.

In recent times global tech giants — mostly American — have run into a wide range of disputes with Brussels and EU member states over taxation, abuse of their dominant market power, privacy issues and for making money from journalistic content without sharing the revenue.

To tackle this, the EU directive created the form of copyright and neighbouring rights that would allow outlets to demand compensation for use of their content. German lawmakers implemented the directive in the country in June and the agreement follows similar deals in other EU countries and with other tech companies.

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