Menu
German copyright law is unconstitutional, Yahoo says in complaint

German copyright law is unconstitutional, Yahoo says in complaint

The law is vague and imposes an unconstitutional restriction on the freedom of information of Internet users, Yahoo said

A German copyright law that gives publishers the exclusive right to the commercial use of their content online is unconstitutional according to Yahoo, which has filed a complaint with Germany's Federal Constitutional Court.

The law, which came into effect last August, gives publishers exclusive commercial rights over their content online except in the case of single words or small text snippets.

The exemption for small text snippets was added to allow search engines and aggregators to continue to show parts of news articles without infringing on copyright. However, publishers interpret the law differently and are demanding compensation from search engines.

The copyright law has been controversial from the start. A consortium of news publishers started legal action against Google in June, demanding a cut of the revenue it generates by publishing excerpts of news stories. They did so after Google declared it would not pay such compensation.

The publishers filed a similar complaint against Yahoo on July 1. Yahoo also showed no interest in licensing negotiations, making a legal process necessary, according to VG Media, the collecting society that acts on behalf of German news publishers.

"We believe that the Ancillary Copyright Law fundamentally violates our constitutional rights as a search engine operating in Germany and we hope the Court will find in our favor, and ensure that German users can benefit from the same breadth of information online as others around the world," a Yahoo spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Yahoo thinks that the new copyright law imposes an unconstitutional restriction on the freedom of information of Internet users because obtaining specific information from the Internet without the help of search engines is not feasible, Helge Huffman, general counsel of Yahoo Germany said in a statement published on Friday.

The German constitution requires the state to protect the freedom of information, including the structures that guarantee people can obtain information, Huffman said, adding that the new law is not compatible with constitutional articles that guarantee press freedom, occupational freedom and the principle of equality.

Moreover, Yahoo also finds the law too vague. Its vagueness leads to legal uncertainty, Huffman said.

As Yahoo is a digital media company as well as a search engine provider it wants to protect high quality journalism while it is also committed to fair competition in the search market, he said.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Yahoointellectual propertycopyrightlegallegislationgovernment

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments