Google reaches content deals with German publishers

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Google said Friday it has signed agreements with several large German publishers to avoid copyright disputes over the use of their material.

The Internet giant said it reached deals with publishers including news weeklies Der Spiegel and Die Zeit, technology portals Golem and Netzwelt, as well as the business publications WirtschaftsWoche and Manager Magazin.

"Numerous conversations with various publishers are at an advanced stage," Google added in a statement.

The move comes after Germany introduced a new ancillary copyright law in June that grants publishers additional rights over their content. The new law makes a distinction between the use of very short extracts—so-called snippets—and extended previews, but doesn't specify where the line between the two lies.

The agreement between Google and the publishers is meant to avoid costly and lengthy lawsuits over that distinction.

Google said payments to publishers would be "based on established copyright principles and follow consistent criteria," without elaborating.

The company signed a similar deal with French publishers earlier this year.

This week, Google and Agence France-Presse announced a five-year deal under which the online giant will pay the French national news agency for content in Europe. AFP's chief executive, Fabrice Fries, said the agreement "is a recognition of the value of information."

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