This was not exactly the decision VG Media had hoped for.
The collective of German publishers had sued Google, arguing that the tech giant has infringed on copyright protections by offering snippets of the publishers' articles in search results. Those snippets, according to VG Media, hurt the publishers' bottom line by sating potential readers' curiosity and violated a 2013 German law that requires compensation for those snippets of text.
Yet on Tuesday a Berlin court raised some concerns with the law itself often known in English as the Ancillary Copyright for Press Publishers. The judge questioned whether Germany had properly notified the European Commission — the executive arm of the European Union — before enacting the regulation, suspending the case until the Court of Justice of the European Union could weigh in on whether the law is even valid.
The issue hinges on an EU directive that requires member countries such as Germany to alert the organization about "any draft technical regulation prior to its adoption."
Handelsblatt Global, a German business publication, explains why Germany decided not to notify the EU about the draft of this law:
"While typically a formality, notification reviews of national laws by Brussels can take up to two years or more. In 2013, Germany did not submit the copyright law for notification, citing a Justice Ministry argument that the law's scope was so limited, it didn't fall under the E.U.'s notification requirement."
The court proved skeptical about this reasoning, though its ruling did note that the publishers complaint is at least partially justified — without offering further explanation on this point.