New EU Copyright Regs Could Nix Thumbnails in Google Search Results, Among Other Things


Copyright laws are getting tougher and more stringent in the EU – so much so that image thumbnails might not appear in search results in the near future.

photo by benjamin dada
Photo by Benjamin Dada

A report from PetaPixel highlights the ramifications of 2018’s EU Copyright Directive, one of which could potentially result in not only thumbnail-less search results but also content-less results as well.

This is because language detailed in the Copyright Directive’s controversial Article 11 says that Google (and companies like it) might have to pay a licensing fee each time an article or thumbnail is used in its search results. Article 13 of the new Directive is the enforcement mechanism of the law and requires Google to approve all uploads into its search results or face a fine.

As PetaPixel highlights, in the United States using an article to discuss its content is typically under fair use but the EU Copyright Directive would change this for media in that region.

Vice President of Google News Richard Gingras really takes a pessimistic view of the EU’s new directive: ““Article 11 could change that principle and require online services to strike commercial deals with publishers to show hyperlinks and short snippets of news…This means that search engines, news aggregators, apps, and platforms would have to put commercial licences in place, and make decisions about which content to include on the basis of those licensing agreements and which to leave out. …Effectively, companies like Google will be put in the position of picking winners and losers.”

The new laws are supposed to protect media companies and creatives from having their work stolen but many think the spirit of the law as well as its requirements would hobble and destroy the Internet for much of Europe.

What do you think? Is the EU Copyright Directive a step in the right direction towards protecting creators and media companies or is it misguided? Let us know in the comments.

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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