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Google News Withdraws From Spain Over New Tax

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

16 December 2014


Google withdrew its news service from Spain and stopped linking to content from Spanish publishers on December 16, 2014, in response to a new tax on news aggregators set to come into effect in the country in January 2015.

Under a new law approved in October, Spanish news publishers will be required to charge "electronic news aggregation systems," such as the Google News service, every time "a link and a meaningful description" of one of their articles is posted – a tax nicknamed the "Google tax." News aggregators that fail to comply with the new law could be hit with fines of up to EUR600,000 (USD747,326).

Richard Gingras, Head of Google News, said in a statement that every Spanish publication will be required "to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not."

He added that "as Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable."

Gingras argued that Google News creates real value for publications "by driving people to their websites, which in turn helps generate advertising revenues."

The Spanish Government has not said how much the charge on news aggregators will be, but the new law, which is officially named Canon AEDE, is expected to raise about EUR80m in tax revenue per year. The additional revenue is intended to prop up the domestic media industry.

TAGS: tax | law | intellectual property | Spain | regulation | services

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