On 31 Aug, the Danish Media Association (Danske Medier), a trade group, sued Google in the Maritime and Commercial Court in Copenhagen, alleging that the internet giant’s publication of ads from local job board JobIndex represented a breach of copyright and was thus unlawful. Google has yet to respond to the suit.

This will be the first time a case relating to EU Copyright Directive Article 17 will be heard in a Danish court.

Article 17 provides that online content-sharing service providers need to obtain authorization from rights-holders for the content uploaded to their websites. Moreover, If no authorization is granted, the content-sharing services are required to take steps to avoid unauthorized uploads.

According to a statement issued by the Danish Media Association: “Google violates copyright and marketing laws by making job ads from JobIndex available on Google for Jobs without permission.

“In the summer of 2022, Denmark’s largest job portal, JobIndex, discovered that Google and its partners were in some cases copying the portal’s job advertisements.”

“As a result, over the past year, JobIndex has attempted to get Google to acknowledge that the tech giant has copied job ads to the Google for Jobs service without permission, while also seeking compensation, damages and
restitution for copyright and marketing law violations.”

“Currently, JobIndex has seen an approximate 20% drop in organic traffic from Google to JobIndex since the introduction of Google for Jobs, resulting in increased marketing expenses.”

“Up to this point, Google has disclaimed responsibility and denied infringing on Jobindex’s rights. Therefore, the job portal is now taking legal action against the tech company, with the Danish Media Association representing JobIndex in the Maritime and Commercial Court in Copenhagen.”

“The Case highlights a significant need to hold Tech Giants accountable.”

Danish Media Association CEO Mads Brandstrup (LinkedIn profile) commented: “The case, unfortunately, doesn’t come as a surprise.”

The CEO added that Google’s behavior was just one example among many of the bullying tactics of tech giants and their exploitation of their ever-growing market power.

“What we’re seeing with JobIndex underscores the need to regulate and hold tech giants like Google accountable when they blatantly exploit other companies by copying their content without consent for their own gain. JobIndex has tried multiple times to reason with Google, but without success. When Google disclaims all responsibility, we need to step in and demand that Google acknowledges copying content and thus violating copyright rules,” Brandstrup added.

“We’re also witnessing right now how Google, alongside Meta in Canada, is attempting to hinder independent media by blocking news content on their platforms. Here, we’ve joined forces with various international media organizations to put a stop to the giants’ bullying methods.”

“In principle, the case with JobIndex is the same. Namely, that we must fight to ensure fair play and hold tech giants accountable when they breach those rules. With the EU’s legislative packages, we’ve taken important steps in the right direction, but there’s a need for the Danish authorities to enforce the rules and take strong action against the major tech companies that wield undue influence over both businesses and our daily lives.”

“For over a year, we’ve tried to get Google to stop abusing its position by directing job-related searches to its own Google for Jobs service,” said JobIndex CEO Kaare Danielsen (LinkedIn profile).

“Moreover, Google’s service features content that has been unlawfully copied from JobIndex despite our requests to cease. Our copywriters write 2,000 ad texts annually, but Google disregards copyright: They’ve ‘kindly’ offered that we can individually object to each copied ad we find. In other words, Google asks JobIndex to monitor whether Google disseminates material copyrighted by others.”

“It’s, of course, unacceptable. We’re willing to compete with Google, but it must be on equal terms, not with Google for Jobs having products on its shelves that aren’t theirs.”

Regarding the upcoming Revision of the Copyright Law, Mads Brandstrup said: “Our clear plea to the politicians is that they must ensure Danish rights holders’ position against tech giants by addressing the question of a new licensing agreement in a separate legislative proposal.”

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