World’s largest search engine undermines upcoming EU copyright legislation

New EU copyright directive is set to come into force next month and already faces disobedience from the worlds most utilised search engine, Google. The internet giant refuses to comply with the directive, insisting that they will not enter into a licensing deal with European Media for the right to use their Google platform for news purposes. The legislation will be set in place in order to ensure an equitable balance between such search engines and the publishers of the content. Google promises to only utilise material which is free of charge, undermining the new directive.

This has been harshly criticised by EU Copyright rapporteur, with the strong suggestion that the company are simply striving to create a monopoly. This is a very unpromising move for media organisations, which hugely rely on the search engine, in order to attract a wider audience. The tech giant suggest that they will work with media groups which agree to do it for free. This is unfavourable for groups which aim to charge Google, as audiences are more likely to be attracted to articles containing visual representation such as pictures and headings. This will lead to less usage by users, thus a decrease in revenue. It could be said that Google will be left to dictate the terms of agreement.

Previously, a similar scenario occurred when such legislation was tried out in Germany and Spain, with a disappointing success rate. The Spanish publishers experienced a decrease in earnings due to less traffic on the search engine, perhaps indicating how the recent EU copyright directive could turn out.

The outcome of Google undermining the new legislation is uncertain, however based on pervious pattern could lead to less usage of the engine in EU countries spreading a negative impact on the news industry across Europe. The disobedience is achieving the opposite effect of what the directive is set to accomplish, with a loss of interaction from audiences, rather that benefiting the content creators through revenue from Google.

Written by Lora Krasteva who is a law student at Solent University

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