Content Marketing Blog

German publishing group sues Google for lost revenue

Instead of waiting for the morning paper to hear about the latest news or current events, modern-day consumers have access to these stories over the internet as soon as they take place.

Although this is great for consumers, it has left the publishing industry slightly short-changed.

The internet has had such a direct impact on the publishing industry that, over the past decade or so, the industry as a whole has been rapidly declining.

In the year 2000, 47 per cent of Americans read the newspaper every day, according to Statista, but in 2012 this had shrunk down to only 29 per cent and is thought to reach 17 per cent by 2017.

In order to survive in today’s internet-centric world, many publishers have created online versions of their publications and found other forms of revenue.

But a group of German publishers have decided to fight back against the internet, demanding  the search engine Google pay them their share of revenue.

The German newspaper group VG Media is made up of roughly half of Germany’s major publishers, and is suing Google for 11 per cent of the search engine’s revenue related to its “publication” – or links to the publication – of its content, reports BuzzMachine.

Last year Germany passed an ancillary bill called the Leistungsschutzrecht that means search engines can only use single words or snippets but not whole sentences from news articles in their search results.

Google is obliged to follow local laws, as it has with the recent Right to be Forgotten rulings, and no longer feature full-length descriptions of publishers content in Germany. But VG media is suing regardless.

The main problem with this is that Google News, where the majority of these publishers’ content would be found, has no advertisements. Since Google makes the majority of its revenue through ad sales, thereare very fewearnings to demand.

These German publishers are simply suing in hopes of getting a slice of Google’s enormous revenue, believes author and BuzzMachine founder Jeff Jarvis, who is unconvinced that the lawsuit will be effective.

In fact, Google as a whole can be extremely advantageous for businesses, giving their online content more exposure and boosting brand awareness.

Of course, those who have strong content marketing strategies will do better in search than those who don’t, and will have a readership – and business – advantage over competitors.

Posted by Dylan Brown