Google Tests New Article 11 Compliant News Service

As article 11 gets closer and closer to the next vote, Google is taking no chances and testing a legally compliant version of their search results.

While the few remaining supporters of Europe’s article 11 and article 13 may deny that there are any link taxes, it seems those impacted by the anti-Internet laws know better.

In a report on SearchEngine Land, Google is test driving a revamped search result page. From the report:

In anticipation of the release of the directive’s final language, Google is conducting an experiment, we were told in email, “to understand what the impact of the proposed EU Copyright Directive would be to our users and publisher partners.” We were given access to the test to see what these pages would look like.

The screenshots below show links but no copy or images, incomplete story titles and site titles without context. In fact they look like pages that have failed to completely load.

The report features additional screen shots.

What few supporters of the copyright directive there are left may dismiss this as either some form of protest or publicity stunt. The reality is that the screenshots actually show what a legally compliant search result may look like. Pictures, for instance, would no longer be considered a copyright exception. Even if it is reduced in size for illustrative purposes, it would still require the search engine to pay money.

Snippets, of course, would also be subject to the licensing fees. If they come from any source, then it would require licensing fees to be paid.

Direct links, of course, would also be banned. This is because many links out there contain what some refer to as “slug titles”. An example might be “https://wwww.example.com/insert_title_here_12345”. Since the title is included in the URL, that would also be subject to the copyright directive and require licensing fees. So, those get stripped out as well.

Really, what Google is presenting is a legally accurate search result that is compliant with Article 11.

Some people may think, “Well, that would probably only affect the greedy big name publishers. Not everyone is going to go running around demanding something as ludicrous as licensing fees just for linking.”

The problem is that Article 11 explicitly bans any exception. If you are a European publisher and say this link tax is incredibly stupid, you are not legally permitted to waive the right to collect those license fees. That little detail has already sparked fears that the directive could single handedly kill Creative Commons news in the entire continent in the process.

The directive is hugely unpopular. Already, more than 4.5 million European’s have voiced their opposition to the directive. The grassroots push is already beginning to slow the directive’s forward momentum, but so far, it hasn’t been completely stalled yet. The good news is that multi-national corporate lobbyists are facing delays in getting their law passed, but the fight is far from over still.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.



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