I've written on a number of occasions over the years on how the liability position of Google and other intermediaries is shifting from a simple "I'm just a host, so don't look to me" to one of increasing responsibility.
In the Court of Justice of the EU's decision in Google Spain and Google, Inc vs. AEPD (Spanish Data Protection Authority) and Snr. Gonzalez, the Court was clear that Google, Inc was a 'data controller' and so within scope of European data protection law.
Yesterday, Google announced that it is shutting down Google News in Spain, responding to the forthcoming introduction - Happy New Year Google, on 1/1/15 - of the 'canon AEDE' which introduces a new statutory copyright limitation which allows the use of 'press snippets' but carries a price tag for intermediaries in the form of fair compensation. In fact, this follows on the heels of a change in German copyright law whose legal form is different but whose effect is the same.
Not all press publishers welcome the legal changes as they fear Google switching off the service may result in a loss of traffic to their sites. But others warmly welcome the change and say it's about time that Google and other intermediaries started paying for the use of their content.
As it happens, I wrote on article on this subject which was published by Intellectual Property Magazine this week. So if you'd like to drill down into the detail, you can read it here, made available courtesy of the magazine:
As with many digital media relationships, partnership and collaboration is going to be the way forward - 'win, win' vs. 'win, lose'.
As this will be my last post of 2014, I'd like to wish all my readers Season's Greetings and very happy New Year.