The German Federal Constitutional Court [official website] said [press release, in German] Wednesday that it cannot hear a case over Internet royalties to news content creators brought by Yahoo, Inc. The suit was filed as a reaction to Germany changing its copyright law in 2013. The new section 87f [statute, in German] of the law gives news content creators the right to compensation from search engines that use more than just short snippets of their content. The new law would mean that all Internet search engines like Yahoo and Google, would either have to restrict the length of the content they use or have to pay the news content creator to use it. The Court ruled [decision, in German] that the the plaintiff, Yahoo Inc, had not exhausted its options to file suit through the regular appellate court system, and therefore the Ccourt could not hear the case. The court did not rule on the substantive issues of the case and Yahoo Inc. is still free to file a civil suit on the issue in the lower courts of Germany.
The large search engines of the Internet have been involved in a number of lawsuits in recent years, trying to define the responsibility and limits of their services online. In 2014 a lawsuit in a US district court [JURIST report] against the Chinese search engine Baidu for blocking political content was dismissed. In 2013 the European Court of Justice released an opinion [JURIST report] stating that Internet search engines were not required to remove harmful content from their search results. The prominent place that search engines have in everyday life now, have made some countries enact laws to regulate them. In June China implemented [JURIST report] a new law regulating how search engines must organize their search results and specifying what illegal content must be reported to the government.