Google News Service will be Discontinued in Europe if Article 11 Comes into Force

IndraStra Global

Google News Service will be Discontinued in Europe if Article 11 Comes into Force

By IndraStra Global News Team

Google News Service will be Discontinued in Europe if Article 11 Comes into Force

As per the European Union’s Copyright Directive (passed in September 2018), Article 11, in particular, is creating a serious situation for digital companies dealing with local publisher contents in Europe. While looking at the outcome of the final vote on the directive will in January 2019, Google is already contemplating to shut down its Google News Service in the European Union if a proposed "Article 11" comes into force.

Many have dubbed Article 11 as a "Link Tax", which is intended to give publishers and papers a way to make money when companies like Google link to their stories, allowing them to demand paid licenses. The "text" of the "article" specifically targets Google News and other apps that use and include snippets of articles. Services often use the opening lines of a story, alongside the headline and image, to provide more context for readers. But, the "text" also specifies that uploading to online encyclopedias in a non-commercial way, such as Wikipedia, or open source software platforms, such as GitHub, will automatically be excluded from the requirement to comply with copyright rules. However, the "text" also clearly states that journalists must get a share of any copyright-related remuneration obtained by their publishing houses.

The directive was originally rejected by MEPs in July 2018, however, an updated version of Article 11 and the 13 was passed in September 2018 a controversial piece of legislation intended to update online copyright laws for the internet age. Kindly do note, Article 13 requires content platforms like YouTube and Facebook stop users sharing unlicensed copyrighted material. The final vote was 438 in favor and 226 against, with 39 abstentions.

To download the Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on copyright in the Digital Single Market (Preparation for the trilogue/4-column document) - "Click Here"

To download the Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on copyright in the Digital Single Market (Preparation for the trilogue/4-column document) - "Click Here"

While speaking to The Guardian, Richard Gingras, Google’s vice president of news, said "We can’t make a decision until we see the final language", before adding that it was "not desirable" to close its services entirely.

Gingras further added: "There’s no advertising in Google News. It is not a revenue-generating product to Google. We think it’s valuable as a service to society. We are proud to have it as part of the stable of properties that people have."

In 2014, similar kind of law was passed in Spain, lobbied by Spanish newspaper websites  - resulting in web traffic drop by an average of 10-15%. A group of German publishers led by VG Media (a syndicate) did follow their Spanish counterparts, but they changed their mind after the fall in traffic.

Overall its a "catch 22" situation for the traditional publishers from Europe as they have regularly blame Google for sucking up much of their advertising revenues but at the same time, they also depend on the service to drive to drive traffic to their websites.