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Google News could disappear in Europe if the EU implements link tax

Google has already spoken out against the EU’s controversial Copyright Directive, outlining the difficulties that an “upload filter” imposes on video content across YouTube. The written word is similarly unsafe, according to the Search giant, as vice-president of news Richard Gingras maintains that Google could pull its News service if plans go ahead with Article 11’s “link tax”.

Back in July, MEPs sent Article 11 and Article 13 of the Copyright Directive back to the drawing board, as many criticised the proposal of “machine censorship.” The Directive once again reappeared in September, with Article 13 continuing to carry the automated upload filter that prevents copyrighted material from being remixed. Alongside this, Google is chiefly concerned with Article 11 and its proposed link tax.

Gingras stated to The Guardian that while Google “can’t make a decision until we see the final language” of the Article, the team hasn’t ruled out the possibility of shutting down Google News services throughout Europe if the link tax comes into play. “It’s not desirable to shut down services,” however the company sees no value in losing revenue on a feature that brings the company no profit. “There’s no advertising in Google News. It is not a revenue-generating product to Google.”

The scheme has failed once before, with Spain opting for a similar approach in 2014. By taxing aggregation sites, the country hoped to compensate smaller publishers that were being showcased on platforms like Google News. The firm swiftly yanked its service from the country as costs became unfavourable, resulting in a significant loss of traffic throughout Spanish news websites.

The EU has yet to respond to Google’s suggested retaliation, although the stand-off could have a variety of consequences. Google strong-arming its way sets a precedent the European Parliament is likely wanting to avoid, while the loss of Google News in the region could devastate publications, particularly the smaller few the EU is trying to compensate.

KitGuru Says: Personally, I use Google News quite often to see what’s out there. It’s even baked into Android with a quick swipe to the right revealing a panel of catered stories for the user. Would the potential loss of Google News affect you?

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