Internet lobbyists say they are worried the German law will set a precedent for other countries such as France
that have shown an interest in having Google pay publishers for the right to show their news snippets in its search results.Lawmakers in Berlin will debate the bill in the Bundestag (lower house) on Thursday. Google says the law would make it harder for users to retrieve information via the Internet.
Google launched its campaign against the bill on Tuesday with advertisements in German newspapers and a web information site called "Defend your web".
"Such a law would hit every Internet user in Germany
," Stefan Tweraser, country manager for Google Germany
, said in a statement. "An ancillary copyright means less information for consumers and higher costs for companies."
The campaign has caused outrage among some members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right coalition.
"The campaign initiated by Google is cheap propaganda," said conservative lawmakers Guenter Krings and Ansgar Heveling.
"Under the guise of a supposed project for the freedom of the Internet, an attempt is being made to coopt its users for its own lobbying," the two said in a statement.
Supporters of the law argue that newspaper publishers should be able to benefit from advertising
revenues earned by search engines using their content.
Under the plans, publishers would get a bigger say over how their articles are used on the Internet and could charge search engines for showing articles or extracts.
German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, a member of the Free Democrats (FDP) who share power in Merkel's government, said she was astonished that Google was trying to monopolize opinion-making. She is responsible for the law.
Germany's newspaper industry, suffering from economic slowdown and keen to get its hands on any revenues it can, backs the plans and railed against Google's campaign.
"The panic mongering from Google has no justification," Germany's BDZV newspaper association said in a statement.
"The argument from search engine companies that Internet searching and retrieval will be made more difficult is not serious. Private use, reading, following links and quoting will be possible, just as before."