EU Considering a "Google Tax" on Search Engines That Aggregate Headlines

By Gary Cutlack on at

The EU is officially investigating whether or not it needs to introduce some sort of community-wide "Google Tax" on internet search businesses, as the war over what you can and can't aggregate and sell your own adverts around intensifies.

The EU is specifically interested in the serving of interesting little snippets of news to users, as popularised by Google News and Yahoo News, as these headlines and explanatory sentences are often all you need to spend the entire day blagging it that you know exactly who's bombing who in Syria -- and don't therefore need to visit the originating site at all.

Publishers, obviously, think this is a bad thing, as it means Google and the rest of the aggregators are effectively nicking their editorial work, summarising it, and chucking their own display advertising around it for their own benefit. Which, if you're a small or medium sized blog trying to make a living, isn't particularly great news.

The European Commission has said it's now looking at "intervening on the definition of rights" in such cases, although with Google responsible for driving the majority of traffic to the sites of publishers in the first place, a broad tax on serving snippets and hyperlinks would seem to be rather self-defeating for the publishers involved. [Reuters]

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