EU-Google War Unabated: US Giant Threatens Europe to Shut News Over ‘Link Tax’

Written by | Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

Google says that the EU is forcing it to curb the range of news that is being provided by the search engine due to its strict regulations meant to protect copyright owners. The European Parliament’s rules that are to come into effect would force tech companies such as Google and Facebook to share more revenues with publishers of news, music and other content. The EU is trying to make sure that online publishers, broadcasters and artists get a fairer share of Google’s and other tech companies’ online revenue while also bearing liability for online infringement.

In September, the Parliament further reworked the proposal in favour of the copyright owners, which triggered backlash from the tech giants. The legislation would make the US company share revenue with publishers for headlines and news on its website while YouTube, Google’s video streaming service, would be liable for music royalties. In response to the legislation, Google said the EU rules would “likely benefit larger publishers and restrict the flow of traffic to smaller ones, making it harder for small, niche or new publications to find an audience and generate an income”.

The company also stressed that this would mean fewer news published on its website. The tech company specifically called out Article 11 of the proposed legislation, saying that this “neighbouring rights” clause would make online platforms pay publishers for material at links shared on their websites. Article 11 is highly contested and referred to, by its opponents, as the “link tax” article. It aims to make Google pay publishers for posting snippets of information contained within links that are shared across the Internet.


With Google having closed its news service in Spain in 2014 because of a similar requirement for it to pay royalties to Spanish publishers, Google’s Vice President of News Richard Gingras has recently gone as far as telling the media that the company is very concerned about the possible payment rule and would not rule out shutting down Google News in EU countries if the legislation goes ahead in its current form. “We would not like to see that happen in Europe,” Gingras told the Guardian.

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