HomeWinBuzzer NewsGerman Publishers Demand Royalties for Chatbots in Google and Bing

German Publishers Demand Royalties for Chatbots in Google and Bing

German publishers call for a licensing agreement for the use of publishers' offerings by AI speech modules.


Publishers in Germany are demanding royalties for the use of their content by chatbots, such as the one integrated into Microsoft’s Bing search engine, reports German news outlet Golem. They argue that chatbots create competing content based on their articles and that this may violate ancillary copyright and antitrust laws.

Chatbots Use Recycle Publishers’ Content for Free

Chatbots like ChatGPT and Google Bard are trained on massive datasets of text obtained from the internet, including access to paid articles from media outlets. This allows them to generate answers based on them, or even summarize or paraphrase them.
OpenAI´s ChatGPT integrated into Bing is used to summarize a protected article from big and small publishers such as the New York Times or niche news blogs like ours, without having to visit the source website. This poses a threat to the publishers’ business model, as they risk losing both website visitors and subscribers.

Ancillary Copyright and How It Might Apply to Chatbots

Ancillary copyright is a legal right that grants publishers the exclusive right to make their press publication publicly accessible and reproduce it for online use by information society services, such as search engines or news aggregators. It was enacted in Germany in 2021, after a long and controversial debate.
However, the law also restricts the licensing of “the use of the facts contained in a press publication.” This means that as long as an AI program only evaluates and paraphrases text, this would likely be permissible without a license under current copyright laws.
The Geman publishers’ associations, the Federal Association of Digital Publishers and Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) and the Media Association of the Free Press (MVFP), as well as Corint Media, the collecting society representing several publishers in the exploitation of ancillary copyright, have called for a licensing agreement for the use of publishers’ offerings by AI speech modules. They also suggest that a legal adjustment may be necessary, as the legislator may have to sharpen their stance in accordance with technological advancements.

Antitrust Implications of Chatbots

The publishers also see the potential for antitrust violations in the new search engine concept, with a joint statement noting that if Google Search favors its own AI content over competing publishers’ content in ranking, detail, and visibility, this constitutes self-preference and discrimination by a monopolist, which is prohibited under the preference for the national health portal or its own shopping service.
The EU’s new Digital Markets Act aims to make it more difficult for a company to prefer its own offerings over those of third parties. Article 6, number 5 of the Digital Market Act states that gatekeepers shall not prefer services and products offered by themselves in the ranking and in the associated indexing and finding over similar services or products of a third party. However, the extent to which this applies to the new chatbot offerings is unclear, and it may be up to competition authorities and courts to provide clarity on how to legally deal with these new applications.

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Last Updated on February 23, 2023 1:50 pm CET by Markus Kasanmascheff

Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus is the founder of WinBuzzer and has been playing with Windows and technology for more than 25 years. He is holding a Master´s degree in International Economics and previously worked as Lead Windows Expert for Softonic.com.

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