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Google Launches Campaign Against German Bill

Proposed legislation could force search engines to pay for linking to news

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BERLIN—Google Inc. GOOG +1.45% began a high-profile campaign against a German copyright bill that could force search engines to pay for linking to news articles, a move that the company said could hobble basic Internet functions in Europe's largest economy.

The legislation, which is set to enter its first round of debate in Germany's Parliament on Thursday, would grant newspaper and other print publishers the right to prevent Google and its rivals from showing headlines and snippets of text from stories in search results unless the Internet companies paid royalties.