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The German cabinet gave its backing Wednesday to a draft law extending copyright protection to snippets of news articles republished by search engines, although proposals to make bloggers pay to quote articles they comment on have been dropped. Google said it was a bad day for the Internet in Germany.
Under the proposed law, news publishers could be allowed to charge search engines such as Google, as well as content aggregators, for reproducing short snippets from their articles. A publisher that thinks a search engine is infringing on its copyright by publishing snippets of text in search results could sue the search engine, said Hendrik Wieduwilt, spokesman for the German Ministry of Justice. The draft law is meant to protect news articles but also covers texts published by "professional" blogs, he said.
The draft law still has to pass through parliament, something Wieduwilt estimated could take up to a year.
The law will not require search engines to delete all the snippets, said Wieduwilt. "It is up to the publisher. The publisher can also agree that search engines can use the snippets for free," he said. "We won't install a snippet police."
The law is about piracy and stealing content on the internet, said federation spokeswoman Anja Pasquay. Search engines are pirating content by publishing the snippets, "and they don't even ask, they simply take it," she said. [pcadvisor.co.uk...]