If the European Union (EU) decides to introduce a so-called ‘link tax’, Google may stop using Google News within the EU. That’s what Richard Gingras, vice president of news at the internet giant, said to The Guardian.

The ‘link tax’ refers to legal texts in the new copyright directive. Article 11 of the Directive introduces a new right for publishers of press publications. Publishers can thus charge a fee for copying their texts, even if they are only short pieces in search results.

Gingras states that it is “not desirable to discontinue services”, but that the company is very worried about the current proposals. The future of Google’s News service may depend on whether the EU wants to amend the Directive. “We can’t make a decision until we see the final text.”

He also points to Spain, which in 2014 tried to make Google pay for links. The internet giant then decided to stop Google News in the country. According to Gingras, Spanish news websites then saw a significant drop in traffic. “We don’t like to see that happen in Europe. What we want to do now is work with shareholders.”

No profit

Gingras further claims that the proposed tax could have an impact on the possibility of new news websites to find an audience via Google. As a result, consumers may see fewer news stories in the search results. In addition, he stresses that the service is not directly a profit-making department for the company, although it does encourage users to spend more time on the websites of the Internet giant.

“There are no ads in Google News. It is not a revenue-generating product for Google. We think it’s valuable to the community.”

The EU Parliament approved a text for the new directive on 12 September. Within the EU, the European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission are still negotiating the final text. So the rules are not yet fixed, although the text is expected to be final sometime next year. The rules would then have to be introduced by the Member States within two years.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.