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EU Member Wanting Google Breakup Tied to Law Firm With Same Interests

A German member of the European parliament angling to breakup Google is a member of a law firm representing German publishing interests that have been keen to reduce Google’s influence.

Potential conflicts like working at a law firm are barred by the United States Congress, though permitted in some American state legislatures. European law has no prohibition on holding a second job at a law firm, though it does require disclosure of the relationship.

In an email, Mr. Schwab said he had not discussed his resolution with the law firm and called it “a purely political issue.”

“All transparency rules are fully respected,” he said, adding that many of his colleagues had to weigh in on the resolution. “You can be sure that the text of this resolution” is “based on a neutral assessment of the facts.”

CMS Hasche Sigle, part of the larger international firm CMS, has represented the German Magazine Publishers association in the past. The association is among the complainants against Google in a sprawling European antitrust case. But CMS Hasche Sigle, which also does lobbying work on legal issues, said it had no role in the Google case.

Read more at the New York Times blog

Ole Jani, one of the firm’s partners, also provided informal advice to the German justice minister while the German government was developing a law aimed at bolstering the copyrights of German publishers, who have sought to be paid for Google’s excerpting of their content. The copyright issue has been at the center of the increasingly contentious relationship between Google and German publishers.

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