from the insanity-offense deptAbout four years ago, you may recall, a group of German publishers were absolutely furious at Google for daring to send them traffic. At the time, they more or less admitted that they were just jealous that Google was able to earn revenue:
Hans-Joachim Fuhrmann, a spokesman for the German Newspaper Publishers Association, said the Web sites of all German newspapers and magazines together made 100 million euros, or $143 million, in ad revenue, while Google generated 1.2 billion euros from search advertising in Germany.
“Google says it brings us traffic, but the problem is that Google earns billions, and we earn nothing,” Mr. Fuhrmann said.
Of course, as we pointed out at the time, he was comparing apples to oranges. Google earns money from search advertising. And the newspapers earn money from advertising as well, so the claim that the newspapers earn “nothing” is wrong. However, two years later, the publishers convinced the German government to take a stand and claim that showing news snippets and linking to the source somehow required a license. That resulted in a legislative fight, ending last year with a somewhat watered down snippet law that no one was entirely sure applied to Google.
If I were Google, I’d simply remove them from their search results for a few weeks. I doubt it would take more, given the likely 95% plus drop in their online readership, to convince them to withdraw these ridiculous lawsuits.