Bre­akthrough: Corint Media reaches agree­ment with Esco­sia

Corint Media and the lar­gest Euro­pean search engi­ne Eco­sia con­clu­de per­ma­nent licence agree­ment on press publis­hers’ rights. In terms of press publis­hers’ rights, the green search engi­ne Eco­sia, based in Ber­lin, and Corint Media agree on the requi­red remu­ne­ra­ti­on cal­cu­la­ti­on. Eco­sia empha­si­ses the will to con­form to the law and its own ethi­cal core values as the basis of the search engine’s stra­te­gic ori­en­ta­ti­on, inclu­ding the use of con­tent from publis­hers and indi­vi­du­al aut­hors.

Press Release
Ber­lin, 2022-07-27

After mon­ths of nego­tia­ti­ons, Europe’s lar­gest search engi­ne Eco­sia and Corint Media have agreed on a model licen­sing agree­ment for the use of press con­tent and thus also on the pay­ment of an appro­pria­te and per­ma­nent remu­ne­ra­ti­on for the con­tent of press publis­hers and their aut­hors. The con­trac­ting par­ties have agreed to avoid an accom­pany­ing legal dis­pu­te to cla­ri­fy any con­ten­tious issu­es sur­roun­ding the press publis­hers’ rights intro­du­ced with effect from 7 June 2021.

The agree­ment and the con­clu­si­on of the licence agree­ment are per­ma­nent. Eco­sia accepts Corint Media’s licence cal­cu­la­ti­ons for the “rea­son­ab­le remu­ne­ra­ti­on of search engi­ne ope­ra­tors”. The cal­cu­la­ti­on approach now con­trac­tual­ly taken as a basis for deter­mi­ning the rea­son­ab­le remu­ne­ra­ti­on is cus­to­ma­ry and enfor­ced in collec­ti­ve copy­right law. In detail, it assu­mes that the pecu­nia­ry advan­ta­ges from the use of the press publis­hers’ rights can only be recor­ded via per­cen­ta­ges on the adver­ti­sing tur­no­ver of the search engi­ne as rights user, as cer­ti­fied by audi­tors. The rea­son for this is that only the search engi­ne is awa­re of the uses of the rights of the publis­hers by way of the con­stant­ly occur­ring, invi­si­ble, mass repro­duc­tions of the press pro­ducts and the making avail­ab­le to the public.

Spe­ci­fi­cal­ly, with this model licence agree­ment, Eco­sia will pay an appro­pria­te remu­ne­ra­ti­on based on Corint Media’s cur­rent rights port­fo­lio of appro­xi­mate­ly 30 per­cent of natio­nal press pro­ducts. Depen­ding on the scope of the press publis­hers’ rights repre­sen­ted, Eco­sia will pay up to 11 per cent of its reve­nues to Corint Media as rea­son­ab­le remu­ne­ra­ti­on for the use of the rights.

The cli­ma­te-posi­ti­ve search engi­ne com­pa­ny Eco­sia, based in Ber­lin, is held through cha­ri­ta­ble foun­da­ti­on share­hol­ders, among others. The com­pa­ny is com­mit­ted to inves­ting all cor­po­ra­te pro­fits in sus­tainab­le envi­ron­men­tal pro­jects, inclu­ding tree plan­ting pro­jects, solar pro­jects or the pro­mo­ti­on of rege­ne­ra­ti­ve agri­cul­tu­re.. Eco­sia has plan­ted more than 150 mil­li­on trees in bio­di­ver­si­ty hot­spots plan­ted around the world.

By con­clu­ding this con­tract, Eco­sia reco­gni­s­es the work of opi­ni­on-forming press publis­hers as an important con­tri­bu­ti­on to the demo­cra­tic eco­sys­tem. Eco­sia con­si­ders the agreed remu­ne­ra­ti­on to be in line with app­li­ca­ble law and its own public inte­rest-ori­en­ted cor­po­ra­te values.

COO Eco­sia, Dr Wolf­gang Oels:“In the fight against the cli­ma­te and bio­di­ver­si­ty cri­sis, our socie­ty needs a diver­si­ty of opi­ni­on-forming and qua­li­ta­ti­ve con­tent. The work of press publis­hers is important, if not essen­ti­al, for a demo­cra­cy. As a search engi­ne, we are a rele­vant inter­face bet­ween peop­le and infor­ma­ti­on. We want to live up to this respon­si­bi­li­ty and at the same time not take the work of press publis­hers for gran­ted. The­re­fo­re, we have agreed to pay a fair­ly agreed and appro­pria­te remu­ne­ra­ti­on to Corint Media for their con­tent in accordance with the law on the pro­tec­tion of press rights. We were able to reach this agree­ment without going to court. After all, legal dis­pu­tes can be con­duc­ted when the­re is legal uncer­tain­ty, but not in order to eva­de the law. We are hap­py to be the first search engi­ne to take this step, but hope not to be the last.”

For Corint Media’s mana­ging direc­tors Mar­kus Run­de and Chris­toph Schwennicke, the con­clu­si­on of the first model licence agree­ment with a search engi­ne pro­vi­der is not only a clear suc­cess for the finan­cial via­bi­li­ty of a free press and the work of jour­na­lists, but also a signal: “With this agree­ment, we have crea­ted an app­li­ca­ble enfor­ce­ment for the appro­pria­te remu­ne­ra­ti­on for the use of press pro­ducts by all search engi­ne ope­ra­tors. This enfor­ce­ment app­lies to all users, inclu­ding mar­ket domi­na­tors such as Goog­le and Face­book, sin­ce our legal sys­tem pre­sup­po­ses equa­li­ty in the enfor­ce­ment of the law, inclu­ding the law on the pro­tec­tion of press ser­vices, vis-à-vis ever­yo­ne and every com­pa­ny, Art 3 GG. Now, with the help of the amen­ded anti­trust law and wit­hin the frame­work of the pro­cee­dings alrea­dy initia­ted by the Federal Car­tel Office against Goog­le and Face­book, it must be ensu­red that the­se mar­ket domi­na­tors pay their bills. They must not con­ti­nue to eva­de the natio­nal and Euro­pean legal frame­work becau­se of their mar­ket power. If we in our Wes­tern demo­cra­ci­es do not mana­ge to enfor­ce app­li­ca­ble law even against glo­bal mar­ket lea­ders, we will have no future.”

Eco­sia is the lar­gest public good search engi­ne in the world. The tech com­pa­ny dedi­ca­tes 100% of its pro­fits to cli­ma­te pro­tec­tion and has plan­ted more than 150 mil­li­on trees in coope­ra­ti­on with local com­mu­nities in over 35 coun­tries. In 2014, Eco­sia beca­me the first Ger­man com­pa­ny to be cer­ti­fied as a B‑Corp and has been regu­lar­ly GWÖ accoun­ted for sin­ce 2019. Sin­ce 2017, Eco­sia has been buil­ding solar plants in Ger­ma­ny to ensu­re that the glo­bal ser­ver power for search que­ries can be balan­ced with rene­wa­ble ener­gy. The solar plants now pro­du­ce 200% of its own ener­gy con­sump­ti­on. In 2018, Ecosia’s foun­der and CEO Chris­ti­an Kroll gave away his shares to the Pur­po­se Foun­da­ti­on to trans­fer the com­pa­ny into so-cal­led respon­si­ble owners­hip. This made it irre­vo­ca­b­ly legal­ly bin­ding that the com­pa­ny remains ina­li­en­ab­le and that pro­fits must be used for the com­mon good. Eco­sia was foun­ded in 2009 by Chris­ti­an Kroll in Ber­lin.

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