The European Commission is taking into consideration the possibility of charging a “Google tax” for search engines to pay publishers for linking and using their work. The aim is to “create better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe; setting the right conditions for digital networks and innovative services to flourish and maximise the potential of the digital economy.”
Publishers might not be as happy as it would be expected from them, though. The European Parliament has also turned down the idea.
The idea is actually not a new one: it has already been implemented in Spain which led to Google closing its news service there, resulting in a severe reduction in traffic for publishers. It has also been done in Germany, after which publishers ultimately have given a licence to Google to link their writing.
Consequently, publishers might have greater difficulty in getting their work reach their audience, as has pointed out a group of European publishers who published an open letter last year to explain how the concept would introduce new obstacles for them. They wrote in their letter that it would be harder for them to get to their readers, and that the latter would experience problems in sharing the links to the writings and so on. They also added that those based in Spain would not be able to share their news without making payment because of the regulation.