Monday, December 12, 2022
We also published this blog post in Czech.
The European Copyright Directive, which is being implemented by countries in the European Union, gives new rights to news publishers online while ensuring that consumers can continue to freely access information through online platforms. The Directive allows search engines such as Google to freely link to and use “very short extracts” of press publishers’ content. The law also creates new rights for publishers when longer previews of their content are displayed online – but without defining what exactly a very short extract or a longer preview is.
We’ve been working with governments and publishers across the European Union as countries transpose the Directive into national law. We’ve opened discussions with news publishers to enter into agreements over the use of protected content. Since 2021, we have concluded agreements with more than 1,000 European publications, associations or collecting societies, with many more discussions ongoing. This builds on our long-standing commitment to the news industry as one of the world’s biggest financial supporters of journalism.
We intended to follow the same approach in Czechia, but the enactment of the updated Copyright Law has made it impossible to enter into agreements like this with Czech news publishers, as it subjects the display of potentially protected content to an unreasonable financial and operational risk to our business, because even for routine updates to our services we are risking a highly disproportionate fine.
What the enactment of the amendment to the Czech Copyright Act means for Google’s services in Czechia
Given the risks described above, we are removing the display of previews of EU press publication content that might be protected under the new law (snippets, thumbnails, and video previews) in Google Search, Discover, and News in Czechia. Headlines and links will remain in place. We have also had to make the difficult decision to discontinue Google News Showcase, our licensing program that pays publishers to curate their content across Google News and Discover, in Czechia, as the constraints placed on our products by this amendment are too stringent and the financial and operational risk to our business is untenable. The changes will be rolled out gradually over the course of the coming weeks.
Here’s an example of what a result of an EU press publication could look like in Search in Czechia both before and after the law is enacted.
Throughout this legislative debate, we’ve voiced our concerns about the impact of these proposals on Czech internet users. For more about our position, please read our blog post Workable path forward with Publishers in Czechia. If you have site-specific questions, please reach out to email@example.com.
Sulina Connal, Managing Director News Partnerships