If you’ve noticed something strange with Google Search results recently it’s probably because they’re trying to prove a point with the EU. There’s a proposal in the offing for an updated EU directive on copyright rule which would force Google and other search engines to pay News providers every time they displayed snippets of a story in search results. Google’s solution – do a test and show the world what search engines would look like if they were forced to pay and the result is stripped down search engine results with pages of URLs, no snippets and no thumbnail images!
This is of course a ridiculous situation to end up in. New publishers in general want to attract as many eyeballs as possible to their articles. Many publishers rely on either advertising or affiliate marketing to generate revenues and if their stories can’t be found in search engines then their traffic dies and so does their advertising revenues. In fact, it could be said that publishers would happily pay to have their content found and many do – it’s called Pai Search.
The current state of play is that the EU countries haven’t been able to agree on the proposals and what size companies they would apply to – the EU don’t want to put an unfair burden on start ups and SMEs that would be impacted under some of the wider ranging proposals – in particular Article 13 which would require sites (e.g. YouTube) to prevent users uploading copyright material. Article 13 is that one that would require search engines to pay for publishing news snippets to drive traffic to publishers websites. Perhaps the best proposal would be to delete these two Articles entirely and keep the good parts of the copyright rules proposal.
#Copyright: Quite disappointed about this delay. I think we should not on the last meters lose sight of the major achievements that are already largely agreed.
— Andrus Ansip (@Ansip_EU) January 18, 2019
The EU aren’t happy with the delay to adopting the proposals and various EU countries aren’t happy with them either. Search engines aren’t happy with the proposals and neither are publishers. It’s a strange world where legislators are trying to rush legislation through before the European Parliament elections in May when so many people aren’t happy, especially as the net result is likely to be that consumers aren’t happy with stripped down search engine results either.
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