back to article Spanish 'Google tax' could end up like Germany's everyone-but-Google tax

Less than two weeks after an attempt to “tax Google” fell apart in Germany, Spain has decided to implement its version of the same idea. Of course it’s not just Google, the new Spanish law targets any website that links to pirated content. The law is in two parts, the first allows the Association of Editors of Spanish Dailies …

  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Follow the money

    > the first [ part of the law ] allows (AEDE) to charge content aggregators for any snippets they publish

    The basic problem is that there are few european democracies that are as inept as Spain in passing laws. Most laws there seem to either be simple revenue raising efforts that punish successful businesses, or "favours" to the government's brown-envelope-toting friends to nobble competition. Either way, little or no thought is given to the side-effects or unintended consequences of their enforcement. Alternatively they simply aren't enforced at all - or the imposed fines merely achieve the status of another tax on people or businesses.

    Just like Hungary quickly canned their plans to tax the internet, I can't see Spain getting any benefit from this lark.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Follow the money

      Allow me to count the ways this law is inept/corrupt (depending on your viewpoint), sticking with just the content aggregation part of the law...

      The way the AEDE is drafted means that any site that publishes a link to a Spanish newspaper story can be charged. Google News, Facebook, Twitter, Digg/Reddit/etc..., RSS feeds, blogs, forums... It doesn't matter if the link was made by scraping (Google News, RSS) or user generated (the rest).

      It also suffers from the same problem as the SGAE (the Spanish equivalent to UK's BPI or US' RIAA) - the charge is collected by an organisation called CEDRO and is later distributed to rights holders, but only if the rights holder is a member of CEDRO. If a blog or a newspaper is not a member of CEDRO then the money stays with CEDRO. If a newspaper or blog who is a member of CEDRO were to publish a story under CC, they'd get the money collected anyway against their wishes and distributed to them and it's up to them to get it back to whoever was charged... less CEDRO's commission of course.

      And that is the clusterfuck that is the AEDE.

  2. Longrod_von_Hugendong
    FAIL

    Being that desperate for money...

    is going to lead to poor decision making, Hungry has done it and now Spain. Hopefully these dumb ass ideas will lead the way in how not to do it.

    I doubt it, but I can always hope.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Being that desperate for money...

      is going to lead to poor decision making, Hungry has done it and now Spain. Hopefully these dumb ass ideas will lead the way in how not to do it.

      I doubt it, but I can always hope.

      >Implying that there's a better way to do this.... Perhaps the best way is to just let it be... You don't want to grant Google, and Co. access to your "Stache" then hide it al-la Murdoch style... Behind a Paywall.

      There Problem solved, you just killed those Two Birds with that there Stone. Though its just as likely to kill the Publisher too... As has been noted.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Germany should drop this law

    Having a law that applies to everybody but Google cannot be a good thing.

    That said, news publishers should get used to the idea that Google will not pay them. It's a bit rich to ask Google to show your data, and at the same time ask them to pay for it.

    1. Oninoshiko

      Re: Germany should drop this law

      The law requiring a license (or paying the statutory license fee) applies to Google, they just negotiated a license independently of the fee.

      As it turns out, Google is providing a service to the news agencies that is of equal (or greater!) value as the blurbs they use. Once Google pointed this out (by discontinuing to provide that service), the news services where falling over themselves to license their content.

      What I want to know is how they 'make the law “unrenounceable”.' Do they require google to publish blubs or do they not permit media to negotiate licenses anymore. I have no idea how they would enforce the former, and the latter would just screw the Spanish media.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Germany should drop this law

        >What I want to know is how they 'make the law “unrenounceable”.' Do they require google to publish blubs or do they not permit media to negotiate licenses anymore. I have no idea how they would enforce the former, and the latter would just screw the Spanish media.

        It forbids local negotiation, but on a creepy way: you can't ask CEDRO not to collect this tax for you even if you're not a member of CEDRO, which will simply mean that what search engines, forums and whoever links and paraphrases you will have to pay a tax for *your* work but you'll never receive a cent.

        Also, the deliberate ambiguos wording of the law opens a whole bunch of loopholes which will enable public administration organisms to shut down websites hosted on Spain and lose their .es registrations without needing any judge ruling. For foreign domains and hostings for which they have no jurisdiction, they can force ISP to block them. *THIS* is the law's true mission: legal censorship.

  4. LucreLout Silver badge
    Stop

    Dear legislators....

    Google are smarter than you.

    Googles lawyers are smarter than your lawyers.

    Googles dog is smarter than your dog: It's probably smarter than your lawyers.

    If Google don't want to pay you tax, then they won't. So pretty please with cherries on top, will you give it a rest before you cripple the internet for the rest of us?!

    1. Richard Jones 1
      FAIL

      Re: Dear legislators....

      I was going to say that even the flees on Google's dog were brighter than the flees on your dog, but Google were bright enough to sell you their dog's flees. This was risky since you now have something brighter than both you AND your lawyers.

      However I agree your final para, as long as the brown bagged morons play the rest of us suffer.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It was pretty amazing that the publishers were so annoyed that snippets were being taken from their sites (little more than a single sentence or two) and thought this was copyright infringement and wanted it to stop.

    So Goole left the links (as opposed to removing the site from their index as had previously been expected) to the stories and removed the snippets. The publishers saw their traffic plummet and so asked for the snippets to be reinstated while they considered their other options. All the want is a part of Google's pie for no work. They are not happy that Google is sending massive amounts of traffic their way for free.

    Doesn't matter how evil you think Google are or what you think of their data collection etc - you have to admit they could do no right in this situation, doesn't matter what they did.

    Maybe Google should remove everyone from their news service and allow sites to sign up to it but part of the sign up is to accept their terms and conditions - including allowing free access to snippets etc. But that would be evil wouldn't it?

  6. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    These sites just have to face reality

    They need Google much more than Google needs them.

    1. plrndl

      Re: These sites just have to face reality

      Google should start charging the publishers for promoting their wares.

  7. Indolent Wretch

    "A similar law in Germany was essentially abandoned by rights collectors on 23 October. Google decided that instead of paying for German news snippets it wouldn’t publish them at all. Publishers saw traffic plummet and panicked, and VG Media - the German royalty collection agency - gave Google (specifically) a free license to publish without payment."

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

    Finally they postured to hard and suffered the consequences.

    Admittedly for about a day but still it's a start.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Always has been my point on the matter - google has no legal requirement to carry your new site, and if it did have a legal requirement to do so you'd have real problems charging them for it as well.

      Google loses almost nothing by delisting even the biggest news company the biggest news company on the hand is at great risk if google decides to ignore its existence because it decided it was due a piece of google pie.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    monopoly

    If it walks like a monopoly, talks like a monopoly and acts like a monopoly it is a monopoly and should be broken up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: monopoly

      Really? Is it now illegal to even be a 'monopoly' or even a dominant player? Should every company that proves too successful be forced to break up.

      Wow.

      Monopoly abuses should be curtailed, this whole episode is not a monopoly abuse, it is purely about publishers wanting to get some money out of Google for no reason other than because Google has a lot of money.

  9. Steve 129

    Too funny !!!

    OK, so Germany went from "Stop Google using our headlines" to giving them completely free access, and only them access !!!???!!!!

    LOL, Too F**king funny.

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