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Disastrous law for publishers

A new study shows that the so-called “Google tax law” which came into force in January 2015 has led to huge losses for Spanish publishers

google-newsThe laws passed demanded a fee for linking to intellectual content either in the form of a single link or a link with an excerpt. Google chose to close down its news service google news in Spain because of the new laws, which has led to a drastic decline in internet traffic for all Spanish newspapers.

The study is available in its entirety here (pdf), and was commissioned by Spanish publishers. The study concludes that there are no good justification for the new fee.

In the short term industry will loose 10 million € due to reduced traffic to their websites and it is the smallest newspapers that are hardest hit. The study also reveals that if readers have access to a news feed such as google news, they reads more news, even if one has the ability to only read the summaries of the news without entering into the article to read further.

Unlike similar laws introduced in Germany and Belgium, the Spanish law does not give publishers the opportunity to opt out of the law. All search engines linking to intellectual content with or without a news summary must pay a tax to the publisher. The tax is collected by an organization called CEDRO (Centro Español de Derechos Reprográficos). Violations of the law are punishable by fines of several hundred thousand euros.

We have previously written about this law just before it came into force:

When the law was introduced, there were many voices that spoke against it. Now the debate fields in various online newspapers are flooding over of satirical comments. Most of the comments are of the “We knew this was going to happen.”


Example of news search via Google News. Screen shot.

It remains to see how the publishers will react to the new study and whether they want to keep the new law or whether they manage to abolish the law if they so wish.