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Google to shut down its Google News content over taxation law
Googe Inc. is battling the Spanish government over its latest legal conflict in Europe, specifically over Google's refusal to pay a content tax, infamously dubbed the "Google tax". If the issue remains unresolved, Google announced in a blog that it will shut down its Spanish operation on December 16. This announcement came as a result of an intellectual property law coming into force in January 2015 obliging Internet news-gatherers to pay publishers.
Once this law comes into effect, the Spanish government will tax Google and other news aggregators for using and aggregating content from Spanish magazines or newspapers.
"This new legislation requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not," Google News director Richard Gingras wrote on on Wednesday."
The Spanish culture ministry responded it would move ahead and enforce the law and stated that Google's decision to shut down its operation as "a matter for the company" and vowed to its cSpanish citizens that their freedom of access to Internet news information will “ be guaranteed” as it is presently.
The Spanish government position is that Google takes advantages of its online monopoly and by doing so avoid paying millions in content taxes.
Google's position is that since it does not earn revenues from Google News that it should be exempt from the new tax," As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable," said Gingras. Addressing head on this position, the Spanish law clearly states that the tax would apply to news aggregators, regardless of whether they earned revenues from advertising or did not.
It is not the first time that Google has had problems with news content taxation law in Europe. Just this past October a legal battle with publishers in Germany stronghold Google to remove snippets and summaries of articles drawn from news sites.
Finally, Germany's biggest news publisher Axel Springer bowed to Google's pressure after seeing a dramatic web traffic plunge to its site. Chief Executive Mathias Doepfner said this past November, "we would have shot ourselves out of the market" if it had pursued with its demands for Google to pay licensing fees.
Google accounts for more than 80 percent of the European Internet search market and more than 90 percent of that share specifically in Germany.
With publishers throughout Europe pushing to pass new national copyright laws forcing all web aggregators to pay licensing fees when they publish snippets of their news articles, this battle is far from over.
How news aggregators across the board will respond to these copyright stances remain to be seen but we crertainly haven’t seen the last conflict over this matter.
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