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Germany sets date for Google vs newspapers smackdown

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Google and the German newspaper industry will fight it out in a public hearing on 30 January, Angela Merkel's government announced today.

The two sides will battle over whether Google should pay copyright fees to newspapers for linking to their content and publishing excerpts on Google news in a open session in the Bundestag on 30 January, the FT reports.

Google's case is that cutting out search results from German newspapers will make its search function less useful for German users. It has even gone so far as to run an advertising campaign aimed at German consumers called "Protect your web – find what you’re looking for" - calling itself a "protector of the free internet".

The publishers group wants Google to pay it for what it calls "ancillary copyright". German newspapers have united behind the Federal Association of German Newspaper Publishers Association (BDZV) to put their case that Google is leeching ad money off them by selling ads on pages that include their content without their permission.

Similar cases have come up in Brazil, France and Belgium. The Belgian case was recently settled out of court. ®

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