Jun 19, 2012

The "Leistungsschutzrecht" Is The New Censorship

Imagine, you cite a news-article and you must pay for a license. As a publisher you might say, it's a good thing. And the [sarcasm]big, bad Google[/sarcasm] can't "steal" the content.
But what does Google do? Having about 200 Chars for an appetizer, is just that. It is free advertisement. But that's not enough for the publishers.

The Internet Will Be Jailed
You can think about that what you want, the collateral damage are the bloggers and free speech in Germany. Exactly there, the ones that should have learned something you could think, a so-called "Leistungsschutzrecht" draft is pushed to get in effect before the summer break. Yes, German politicians do that. And the European Soccer-Cup is always a nice idea to push such unwanted laws, because no one really cares as long as their soccer team keeps winning.

So basically it is the opposite of the Fair-Use ruling in the US. You may not use any bit of a sentence from a press-product. That is ridiculous. It will be hard to write blog-articles in the future. Except you have a lot of money buying licenses from a few big companies. Free speech for money and chicks are not free... oops.
The consequences for blogging and free speech on the internet, including social networks, is unforeseeable. Especially Facebook, Google+ and Twitter are relying on links and excepts. Up until now, even in Germany this is legal. There is a law that regulates citing. This will be completely worthless when the new law takes over. Not even a headline is allowed. The exception for non-commercial blogs doesn't help. The term commercial is not that easy in Germany. If you have Ad-banners or even blog regularly, like writing an article a day, it's considered commercial. In real life, a blog that have some readers at last, are having real big problems.
The first blogs have already shut down. A blog of a public library e.g. There goes free speech and you right for independent information.

Why should you care in the US?
Well it might not take long before companies in the US will also be tempted to try that. The problem also is, can you link to German news ever again? Don't mistake, a lot of news are from German agencies and publishers. Or else, how about losing clicks, because no one dares to link to you?
And of course, some pressure on that topic, showing that in the US, companies can't screw Americans in time, will be a good sign to prevent such ill intentions of undermining the essence of the free Internet.


More info about that issue on irights.info.