Awful German word of the day: Leistungsschutzrecht

Monday, 5 November, 2012

It could be translated as “right to protection of achievement”, but that wouldn’t make much sense as the word is almost exclusively used in the context of the publishing industry. There, Leistungsschutzrecht has a translatable meaning akin to “ancillary copyright”, but if we cut to the chase it means “the right of the German media industry to strong-arm Google into paying for the inability of publishers to innovate”. As Gerrit Wiesmann notes in today’s Financial Times, “The idea of forcing internet sites to share some of the revenue they earn from selling ad space alongside listings of newspaper and magazine articles is so alluring that France is considering similar rules — and Italy could also follow.” Quelle surprise!

However, writing in the must-read Monday Note, Frédéric Filloux hits this particular rusty nail soundly on the head. In “The press, Google, its algorithm, their scale“, he concludes: “Legacy media must deal with a harsh reality: despite their role in promoting and defending democracy, in lifting the veil on things that mean much for society, or in propagating new ideas, when it come to data, news media compete in the junior leagues. And for Google, the most data-driven company in the world, having newspapers articles in its search system is no more than small cool stuff.”

In light of this, the best translation of Leistungsschutzrecht is “scam”.

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