Ancillary copyright: publishers demand 420 million euros from Google per year

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New round in the fight for ancillary copyright: the collecting society Corint Media is demanding a total of 420 million euros in license fees from Google for the year 2022. Google has already announced resistance.

Ancillary copyright is, as always, about the headings, marker texts and thumbnails of articles from the online offers of the press publishers that Google displays in the search results. For those, license fees are due. The press publishers have been making corresponding demands since the first ancillary copyright law, but the law from 2013 failed. The new start is now based on the new copyright law, which implements the corresponding EU directive.

No simple negotiations expected

The new law means that new negotiations will start. Corint Media (previously VG Media) is now demanding the aforementioned 420 million euros for 2022. The basis for this claim: Corint Media estimates Google's sales in Germany in 2020 at 9 billion euros. For this, a license rate of 11 percent is calculated on the relevant sales of the entire repertoire – the arbitration board at the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) has assessed this as appropriate in previous proceedings, according to the Corint Media announcement.

420 million euros are therefore the share of the 11 percent that Corint Media claims for the press publishers that are represented by the collecting society. “With this offer, negotiations with the largest platform that uses press content are entering the decisive phase,” explain Corint Media Managing Directors Markus Runde and Christoph Schwennicke. The negotiations are unlikely to be too easy, however.

In a first statement, Google has already announced that it will not accept this sum, according to a report by Heise Online. Accordingly, the demands of Corint Media are baseless. The added value of search engines for press publishers and the irrelevant income that Google earns with the corresponding content is not calculated.

Facebook and Microsoft should also pay

As a collecting society, Corint Media represents Press publishers say they have around 200 authorized users. These include, among others, Axel Springer, the Funke Mediengruppe, Handelsblatt Media Group, Du Mount and ProSiebenSat1 Media.

Meanwhile, the collecting society is not only concentrating on Google. According to the announcement, negotiations with Facebook have already been called, talks are already underway with Microsoft and other users.