Spain to tax Google under new law
Juan Fernandez Gonzalez
| 03 November 2014
Under new legislation regarding intellectual property, Spain has created the possibility of taxing Google and other news aggregator services so that whoever originally created the content they use gets compensation.
The Ley de Propiedad Intelectual also aims to fight piracy and has established large fines for the online consumption of pirated content. The law will allow Internet authorities to close down websites which link to pirated content, enforce fines up to €600,000 and even ban sites from search results, all without needing judicial permission.
The law will also force telcos and operators to reveal information about the users of pirate sites without any judicial request, thus enabling authorities to fine individual users.
The most controversial part of the new regulation is the so-called Google Tax, through which newspapers and news websites will be entitled to compensation by news aggregator services such as Google News, RSS feeds and even social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. So far, only Google has reacted to the news and says it is considering closing Google News down in Spain in order to avoid the taxation.
The law, which according to the Spanish Government is only the first of many reforms to come in the Internet arena, will be effective from 1 January 2015.
The move has been welcomed by the new EU commissioner for digital economy, Günther Oettinger. In an interview with German newspaper Handelsblat, Oettinger said he also aimed to set a new intellectual property law in Europe and establish a tax for news aggregators. According to Oettinger, if Google uses EU intellectual property, the Union has the right to protect it and ask a price for it.