German Parliament OKs watered-down copyright law

German Parliament passes watered-down Internet copyright law that addresses Google's fears

BERLIN (AP) -- A bill broadening copyright protections for material used on the Internet has been approved by Germany's lower house of Parliament — but without provisions that worried Google and other search engines.

Parliament on Friday voted 293-243 for the bill, which aims to protect the copyright of news articles and other material on the Internet but allows the use of "single words or small text passages" without royalties.

The language appears to address search engines' concerns that the measure would amount to a "Google tax" charging them for displaying search results with short snippets of text from articles.

Google, which had launched a campaign against the law, says it is now "watered down to avoid that danger."

The bill still needs upper-house approval, and is expected to meet resistance.