#Google fired a rare public broadside against a proposal that would force it and other online aggregators of news content to pay German newspaper and magazine publishers to display snippets of news in Web searches.
An irked Google pushes back on fee planBY KEVIN J. O'BRIEN
From The International Herald Tribune
BERLIN — Google's imprint on daily life is hard to ignore in Europe, where it reportedly has 93 percent of the Internet search market, more than in the United States. Yet when it comes to its lobbying of lawmakers, Google prefers a low profile.
That all changed this week when Google fired a rare public broadside against a proposal that would force it and other online aggregators of news content to pay German newspaper and magazine publishers to display snippets of news in Web searches.
The proposed ancillary copyright law, which is to have its first reading Friday in the lower house of Parliament, the Bundestag, has ignited a storm of hyperbole pitting Google and local Web advocates against powerful publishers including Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Bild and Die Welt.
Google took off the gloves Tuesday when it opened a campaign urging German users to e-mail members of the Bundestag with their concerns. Google said the proposal would shrink the free flow of information on the Internet in Germany, perhaps even forcing it to display blank links to German references.
The issue is also being debated in other European capitals. In October, President François Hollande of France asked the Google executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, to have a representative meet with a government mediator to resolve the issue. The company complied. The implicit threat was that if no solution were found, France might pursue a legislative option.