The arbitration board responsible for copyright disputes at the German Trademark and Patent Office in Munich has recommended that Google make a provisional payment of EUR 5.8 million to Corint Media for the use of media press content of the media companies affiliated with Corint Media. So far, Google has refused to pay for the use of the content. The publishers are resisting this - including Landwirtschaftsverlag Münster, which also has its rights represented by Corint Media. Media produce high-quality editorial content with great creative effort and the claim to journalistic truthfulness. In this way, they are a prerequisite for the formation of public opinion. However, content must remain affordable. Producers - publishers and creative authors alike - must therefore be given an appropriate share of the added value that other companies such as Google generate through the use of their content. Corint Media supports Landwirtschaftsverlag Münster in enforcing this principle.
Below is the full press release from Corint Media:
Preliminary decision of the Arbitration Board: Google to pay Corint Media 5.8 million euros for use of press products in the first step
The arbitration board responsible for copyright disputes sets a provisional compensation payment for the use of Corint Media press content. In return, Corint Media is to temporarily license press copyrights to Google. Unlike Google, the arbitration board thus assumes actual use and thus assures publishers of initial remuneration.
Decision is not prejudicial - significantly higher amount expected in main proceedings.
Berlin, March 17, 2023. The Arbitration Board at the German Patent and Trademark Office has determined an interim payment from Google to Corint Media in the amount of 5.8 million euros for the period from June 7, 2021 to today in the dispute over Google's unlawful use of press ancillary copyrights. The decision in the interim legal protection is intended to avert further damage from the press publishers of Corint Media. The repertoire of press content of Corint Media today amounts to approximately one third of the total market.
With this decision, the Arbitration Board confirms the actual use of press content by Google. Google itself had denied using at all until the very end and refused to pay any provisional remuneration for the press copyrights held by Corint Media. Corint Media had offered Google several times in the talks to leave the decision on the amount of the appropriate remuneration to the courts and to agree on a provisional payment amount until a legally binding decision was reached.
The Arbitration Board is thus following the practice it had already shown in the Microsoft/Bing expedited proceedings: As provisional compensation, it is resorting to sums that the user companies had offered Corint Media themselves in negotiations. Thus, Google had already offered 3.2 million euros per year for the final licensing of the Corint Media portfolio at the beginning of 2022. However, Google considered this payment to be final and thus wanted to enforce legal peace. In these proceedings, Google had declared that it did not want to pay anything for the time being. The arbitration board expressly did not follow this and is now determining the sum as a provisional minimum payment until the final proposal in the main proceedings. There, a decision will be made on the appropriate remuneration - the result is expected in the second half of 2023. The interim payment now proposed by the Arbitration Board thus has no prejudicial effect on the pending decision on appropriate compensation in the main proceedings.
Corint Media expects that, if the Arbitration Board reaches a decision in the main proceedings, high amounts in the millions will be confirmed as an appropriate payment for the use of the press ancillary copyright. This would be on a par with decisions in comparable markets: Press publishers in Australia, for example, are estimated to receive around 100 million euros from Google for the use of their content - in a market that is only around a third of the German market. In France, Google pays around 45 million euros to press publishers there for the protection of press rights, according to industry sources, plus at least the same amount for so-called Google News Showcase contracts.
Markus Runde, Managing Director of Corint Media: 'Almost two years after the press rights protection law came into force, the press publishers of Corint Media are still being treated differently by Google than individually concluding press publishers without any objective justification. They do not receive Google's specially constructed 'ENP or GNS contracts' for the granting of rights, nor do they receive any provisional remuneration for uses that have taken place. Now the Arbitration Board, as the first instance provided for by special law, has decided what Google has to pay on a provisional basis in order to at least put an end to the recognizably illegal use of press publications by Google. It now remains to be seen whether Google will behave like Microsoft and accept provisional payments at a low level until the final decision on the merits. Or whether Google, exploiting its quasi-monopoly position, will continue to act to the detriment of the press publishers and the journalists who are also involved and who are, after all, entitled to a third of any remuneration. That should then alarm courts, authorities and legislators.'
To Corint Media:
Corint Media, based in Berlin, is a European company in the private media industry. It represents the copyrights and ancillary copyrights of nearly all German and several international private television and radio stations, as well as of numerous press publishers.
The media companies represented by Corint Media include TV stations such as Sat.1, ProSieben, RTL, WELT, SPORT1, CNBC, Eurosport, VOX and CNN, radio stations such as ANTENNE BAYERN, radio ffn, Klassik Radio, Radio Hamburg, Hit Radio-FFH, RADIO PSR, R. SH, RPR1 and RTL RADIO, as well as press publishers such as Axel Springer, Verlagsgesellschaft Madsack, Mediengruppe Pressedruck, Aschendorff Mediengruppe, Rheinische Post Mediengruppe, sh:z Schleswig-Holsteinischer Zeitungsverlag and Badischer Verlag.
Corint Media is one of 13 collecting societies licensed in Germany and is under the supervision of the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA).