October 30, 2014 Last Updated 8:56 pm

Spain passes ‘Google tax’ allowing publishers to charge aggregators fee for displaying their content in search results

The Spanish parliament is the latest to empower publishers to charge search engines a fee whenever they aggregate their online news content in search results. The law goes into effect on January 1.

The new law, Canon AEDE, is similar to efforts in other countries, namely Germany, where news organizations have lobbied to have laws passed that would require Google to pay publishers for displaying content. The problem, of course, is that Google simply says it will not pay, and will, if forced, eliminate the news content of publishers from their search result. The effect is the decrease the web traffic going to publishers, and therefore decreasing the money publishers make online.

The Spanish law, known as the “Google Tax”, is vague in that it does not spell out what publishers can charge Google.

The law was passed with 172 votes from the governing Popular Party, with 144 votes against coming from the opposition parties. A spokesman for one of the opposition parties said the legislation was “one of worst laws of this legislature” and was designed to favor Spain’s largest media companies.

Google issued a statement shortly after the new passed. “We are disappointed with the new law because we believe services like Google News help publishers to bring traffic to their websites. Regarding the future, we will continue to work with Spanish publishers to help them increase their income whilst we evaluate our options in the framework of new regulation.”

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