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Germany's highest court rejects Yahoo content payment case

November 23, 2016

Germany's highest court has sent back to lower courts a case brought by Yahoo. The internet company is fighting a law allowing publishers to demand payment when their content is republished.

Marissa Mayer
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/J. Jacobson

While the German Constitutional Court rejected the California-based internet company's claim, which was based on freedom of information and the press, it did not make a final ruling on the suit.

The court, in the western city of Karlsruhe, said on Wednesday that Yahoo hadn't exhausted its legal possibilities in lower courts and should turn to them first. The decision suggests Yahoo could now take its case to the civil law courts.

The judges didn't rule on the issue itself, which also affects rival search engine companies, such as Google. 

Germany's copyright laws

Germany revised its copyright laws in August 2013 allowing media companies to request payment from search engines that use more than snippets of their content. The law, however, does not explicitly specify how long a snippet can be before search engines need to pay publishers. Yahoo contested the decision, saying it limited access to information. 

Yahoo's bottom line hit

The Internet pioneer reached a deal in the summer to sell its core online assets to telecom giant 

Verizon, which has said it plans to retain the Yahoo brand and use the huge online audience to build a rival to Google and Facebook in the area of online advertising.

jbh/sms (AP, dpa)