German law stating that search engines are not allowed to show short news fragments and images of news organizations without permission may not be applied by the European Court of Justice.

In 2013, a new copyright law was introduced in Germany, which means that search engines are no longer allowed to show parts of news articles without permission. If that does happen, then search engines must pay royalties.

The Court ruled on Thursday that the law may not be applied, because showing fragments of news items is part of the information society. As a result, the scheme must first go to the European Commission for approval, but that has not happened.

Earlier, European lawyer-general Gerard Hogan stated that the law should not be applied, because then too much power would be placed with publishers. The Court is now following this advice.

The German VG Media demanded compensation from Google, because the company showed news fragments in the search engine and via Google News. Due to the ruling of the Court, VG Media cannot invoke this law for this compensation.