There has been quite some buzz about the Leistungsschutzrecht-Law here in Germany, especially in Berlin over the last few weeks and month up to the point that recently an online petition against it failed miserably. Now I am the last one that thinks we should implement laws in order to save anyones business model, but when asked whether I voted, I seriously didn’t bother. The opposite actually, I am in favour of that law, maybe then they’d eventually learn their lesson.
Essentially that law would require anyone quoting an except from a publisher to have an agreed licence beforehand or be up for being sued for copyright infringements. As of today that goes mostly against Google, which is using excerpts to give the valid information to the user even before he had to look into the page. And as German publishers make most - if not all - their revenue with the advertising shown on the website, they fear people don’t come to their website and won’t see any ads. Down to the basics, that is what this law is about.
And while a few see the that as censorship of the internet or thread to good search engine results, I find it just cute but also kinda sad. Sad because that even so many years in, and so many formerly publishing and media businesses being highly disrupted in its core by the internet, they still didn’t get what is happening. And cute because they think that law or anything they’d do here has any actual impact. My standing on this law simply is: You know what? Let them have it. Let them force Google to remove their search index.
Do they really believe I or any other Internet user really cares? So we won’t find any more spiegel, bild or welt-magazin results anymore in our search results? So what? I will still get my information provided by wikipedia or any of the other world wide news publishers because I do not see, what I do not see. What you are willingly getting removed from the search index - your very own content - just drops out of our radar. The day after you implemented this you will see your very own page impressions drop like a dead fly and I give you exactly six month before you either signed a deal to pay Google to put you back into the index or file for bankruptcy.
So, let them have it. Let them have this stupid law. Market is already ahead of them and will crush it. And then maybe they’ll eventually learn that they either get their business models ready for a 21st century or their time is over - but no law will ever bring back the time without the internet.