Is this a “google or snippet tax”?
Many people have referred to this proposal as a “snippet tax”, “Google tax” or “link tax”. The goal of the laws in Spain and Germany was in part to target news aggregators such as Google and charge them for snippets of news text.
This has failed to achieve the desired effect so far. For example, in Spain, where services like Google News, Planeta Ludico, NiagaRank, InfoAliment and Multifriki have already shut down after AC laws were put into place, traffic declined.
In trying to reach this outcome, copyright law has been used. Copyright is like property – it impacts everyone who trespasses on your property, whether Google or somebody else. You can’t write a copyright law that says that there is an infringement of copyright only by Google and that any other use is fair.
As such, the suggestion has been to create a copyright on text snippets from news, making it harder for online services and people to use extracts of text. Because such snippets are often used to make a link (describing what the link is to, for example), some have called this a “link tax”. Just like “Google tax”, this is an approximation.
Whatever the case may be, “text snippets” are used by a much broader variety of online services than just Google to drive traffic to news and entertainment websites. On average, for large press publishers, around a third of traffic comes from direct access (users typing lemonde.fr, elpais.com, repubblica.it etc in their browser). The rest, as shown by research from the Reuters in institute, is traffic coming from search engines such as Google and Bing, news aggregators, social media such as Twitter or Facebook, email, apps, etc.