The EU takes on Google with new copyright reform

The reform may force news aggregators to pay newspapers for displaying their content

EU flag flying

The European Union may bring into effect a new "Snippet tax" which would force news aggregator websites to pay a fee to newspapers for displaying parts of their work online.

This would affect Google News, which Google is not happy about, but publishers such as Axel Springer and Newscorp support the reform as they believe it's the only way to raise revenue for the news industry, according to Yahoo News.

The dispute is set to be ongoing throughout this year as the EU irons out the new EU Copyright law which it is hoping to modernise.

The tax is based on one introduced in Spain, which critics say harmed publishers and saw Google shut down Google News in the country in response.

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The Computer and Communications Industry Association, which Google is part of, called the reform "ill-founded, controversial and detrimental to all players." Google said: "It would hurt anyone who writes, reads or shares the news including the many European startups working with the news sector to build sustainable business models online."

The new reform has divided member states and will need an EU majority of 65% in order to pass. On one side are France, Spain and Germany, which support the tax and on the other Ireland, UK and Nordic countries, which are against it.

The law has been approved by three committees already but the Legal Affairs committee is yet to make a decision. It's said the committee is expected to approve the law in October, which will be followed by a vote in December or January on the overall copyright reforms.

Late in June, the European Commission's antitrust watchdog hit Google with a record-breaking 2.42 billion penalty. It claimed the tech giant was illegally promoting its own comparison shopping service, Google Shopping, while rivals appeared lower in Google search results. The investigation highlighted that Google's shopping service had traffic increased by 4,500% since Google started to abuse its position.

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