Preiskel has been representing Movement for an Open Web (MOW) since 2020. MOW is a consortium of members which is seeking to achieve an open and decentralised web. Please see below MOW’s recent news post:
On October 12 2023, an interim agreement was reached between Google and Corint Media, under which Google will pay a total of €8.2 million for the past and until the end of 2023, and €3.2 million each year thereafter. This applies until the Arbitration Board at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) determines a final figure.
This decision follows MOW’s complaint to the Bundeskartellamt in February 2022, calling for consideration of the full scale of Google’s actions against press publishers – which you can read about here. In brief, MOW submits that Google News Showcase and the Privacy Sandbox browser changes are interrelated, and that publishers will consequently suffer significant competitive harm.
The dispute between Google and Corint Media centered around Google’s unlawful use of press content without paying remuneration. At the heart of the dispute is Google News Showcase, Google’s own news publishing service, which they launched to compete with other news publisher websites. The News Showcase allows users to see one aggregated source of news through Google, while sharing their data with Google. In doing so, it interferes with rival publishers’ abilities to compete and benefit from third-party partners.
To truly uncover the extent of Google’s anticompetitive practices, the News Showcase must be considered in connection with the Privacy Sandbox browser changes. It is estimated that, as a result of the browser changes, online news publishers face a 50-70% reduction in digital advertising revenue (based on CMA findings and Google’s own research). The News Showcase is Google’s “way out” and offers online publishers the opportunity to join an online news portal. In doing so, they will lose control over their commercial activity as independent businesses — while Google consolidates even more of the market. This leaves online publishers stuck between a rock and a hard place.
The interim agreement between Google and Corint Media is, therefore, a welcomed development. Corint Media sought to enforce its ancillary copyright against Google, as prescribed by the German ‘Copyright Act’, which grants press publishers the exclusive right to make their press publications available and reproduce them for online use by providers of information society services. The DPMA subsequently proposed the €3.2 million figure as interim payment, as this sum “offered the greatest chance for a quick, actual payment for Google”.
The German authorities’ approach to this dispute, in orchestrating a sophisticated and practical payment mechanism to hold Google to account, only goes to show how far their international counterparts lag behind.
MOW believes that the News Showcase will continue to distort market competition, with wider implications for society, democracy, and a free and open press.
In the words of Dr Christine Jury-Fischer, Managing Director of Corint Media, “Corint Media’s settlement with Google shows that even a section of the press market can succeed in resisting Google’s dominant business behaviour if only unity is high”. That’s why we need your support, so join us in this vital cause.
If you have any questions on the above or wish to find out more about MOW, please contact Tim Cowen.
The material contained in this article is only for general review of the topics covered and does not constitute any legal advice. No legal or business decision should be based on its content.
This article is written in English language. Preiskel & Co LLP is not responsible for any translation of all or part of its content into any language.