EU Commission Wants Google to Pay a Licensing Fee

The European Commission is currently holding a public consultation on granting “neighbouring rights” to publishers. Under this, the lawmaker is proposing that Google should pay publishers a licensing fee.

The European Commission is proposing that Google and other news aggregators that run a snippet from the article of others’ articles should have to pay for the excerpt. EU commissioner Gunther Oettinger said that he is “open” to the idea of imposing a tax on snippets. The lawmaker wants to implement this regulation across Europe.

The consultation paper also seeks views on whether people a “panorama” exception should be introduced to copyright, which would allow people to take and distribute pictures without the permission of the architect.

Charging Google for running snippets might not work so well for European publishers. Google is likely to close down its Google News service from Europe rather than paying any tax, as we have already seen in Spain. Furthermore, with Google out of the picture, the online publishers could lose a significant amount of their traffic. . Germany also introduced such a tax system but ended up giving Google a free licence to their material, citing Google’s dominant market position. Many publishers in Europe realise this, and they are against the idea. “As publishers, we know such proposals make it harder for us to be heard, to reach new readers and new audiences. They create new barriers between us and our readers, new barriers to entry for news publishers such as ourselves,” a consortium of European publishers said in an open letter last year.

Anyone – including people from outside of EU, who wants to express their view on this matter – can respond to the questionnaire. The closing date for the response is June 15, 2016.

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