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Search Engines and Newspapers’ Websites

You may remember the Belgian newspapers’ lawsuit [1] to prevent Google from linking to their sites, or from running short extracts from their sites in a Google News aggregation – a lawsuit that (if I recall correctly) the papers succeeded in, then found that they had a lot less traffic on their sites, so they made an arrangement with Google. It appeared that they really had intended to dip their ladles into Google’s revenue stream. It’s not clear how well they succeeded.

German newspapers seem to be taking a different route but probably to the same intended destination. They have apparently persuaded the German parliament [2] to allow them to charge royalties to search engines that link to their stories.

Once the search engines block their sites from their searches, won’t the newspapers get less revenue from their own sites, for missed advertising or for other reasons?

One sees the temptation for government in this line of the story, though: ‘Other European countries …were interested in following Germany’s initiative because of the potential tax revenues these countries would earn from the proposed royalty fees.’ Not to mention that the newspaper publishers are no doubt better connected to legislators in those countries than are the owners of search engines.

Is this likely to be a success, from the point of view of the newspapers? Is it a way of preserving value in the Internet era? Will it be a lucrative source of tax revenue for the governments of the territories where the newspapers publish?