Spanish new sites could be killed off by Spain’s “Google Tax”

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Most news sites will agree that Google’s search engine is so all-powerful, that this as well as Google News happen to be two of the best sources of website traffic. We all know that Google does not charge a single cent to websites for the free advertising, although the idea of Google paying for the privilege of providing free advertising has cropped up from time to time. It seems that the Spanish government might have taken a wrong step this time around, paving the way for what is deemed by many to be “Google Tax”.

Ask any news site and they’ll tell you that Google’s search engine and Google News are two of the best sources of website traffic. Google doesn’t charge websites anything for all the free advertising, but rather than count themselves lucky every so often someone comes up with the idea that Google should pay for the privilege of providing free advertising. This idea has been tried unsuccessfully in Belgium, Germany, and elsewhere, and now the Spanish govt has decided to provide an empirical example of the definition of insanity. In February the Spanish cabinet approved a draft law which would revise Spanish copyright law. One of the several provisions in the draft would require Google and other aggregators to pay for the privilege of linking to news sites and posting snippets. This story was well-covered in February in English by El Pais and Global Voices Advocacy, so I won’t repeat what they wrote. But I would like to add a few points.

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