Spain pushes for 'Google tax' to end free linking online



Uh yeah, good luck with that. I suspect that Google’s operation in Spain isn’t so big that they can’t just close the office and move everybody to Portugal or Italy instead.

I don’t have a firm grasp on the political system in Spain, but is this kind of like any number of crazy bills brought up in the US House of Representatives every year that are guaranteed to go nowhere?

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The bill has already pass the Congress, next step is Senate where the Government has also majority, so it’s expected to make it. And yes, Google has already said that if they make them pay for Google News, they’ll just close Google News in Spain (they don’t get money for that service).


I’m just fascinated by the bizarre artifacts around the outer edge of that image.


It sounds like foreign companies, which can’t be taxed, would simply be banned in Spain for activity covered by the law. Seems like Spain is a big enough market for Facebook (and possibly Twitter) that they would simply put the relevant Spanish media outlets on “blacklists” and filter out all references to them to comply with the law.


Google doesn’t need to move offices, Spain is part of the European Union and it´s offices are in Ireland. And if they have the just can fire everybody almost for free thanks to the current labour legislation.

Currently the country is governed by the Popular Party (right wing, christian, neo-liberal, homophobic and chauvinist) with absolute majority in the parliament, but national elections are coming next year and the prospects are bleak for them, they know they will have a hard time on the urns, so they are pushing all kinds of crazy and abusive legislations. They know that, even if they lose to another party or coalition, it will take years to out rule those legislations and that it will become a legal quagmire that will likely end with the government paying astronomical compensations to everyone.

Even if the government just approve the “Google Tax”, Google and other internet companies can sue Spain thru the European Court of Justice. And it looks very likely that Spain, no matter what will have to pay lots of pay-taxer money to everyone, except their citizens. :frowning:


The evilness of the law being approved is that blacklists won’t work. Under this law, all media outlets have an “innalienable right” to be compensated. This compensation is to be handled by a RIAA like entity (CEDRO). Even if you do not want to get compensated, they will go around asking for the compensation in your name. So for Facebook or Twitter to comply with the law properly, they should not allow any links at all to Spanish sites.


Maybe if Spain and France try hard enough, maybe they can just legislate the internet right out of existence within their countries.

It’s a nice real-time lesson watching these idiotic Govts attempt to pass enough laws to make the Internet completely perfect and safe. Not that I’d expect our own gang of crooks and morons to learn anything.

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I do not understand how they would go about assessing or collecting this tax. It seems a little bit like taxing bad thoughts, or farts.


Well, they’ll probably just ask the NSA for expert advice on collecting massive quantities of “metadata”.

Well, I guess that makes the blacklist simpler, if it’s all Spanish websites…

They shouldn’t remove Google News or other such services. They should just fix it so that instead of linking to the site in question, they redirect anyone clicking on such links to a page saying “These people voted for this stupid law saying we can’t link to pages. That’s how the Internet works. Vote them out for breaking the Internet if they don’t repeal it.”

Every person in Spain will run into those links.

The law doesn’t say you can’t link to a newspaper article, only that you’ll get taxed for doing so.

I doubt this law could actually work to anyone’s satisfaction. The simple solution for the newspapers is to put up a pay-wall. Of course, no one will visit those pay-walled sites hence the reason for this heavily lobbied law.
Politics at it’s finest!

One could argue that we all pay a bad thought tax and they are way ahead of you on the fart tax…


I’d expect them to get ideas, mind.

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It does look like it needs a shave, yes.

If you don’t want people linking to your content for free, don’t make it freely linkable, you asshats. Or, y’know, figure out a way to make that work for you.

Aside - I haven’t read a single piece of journalism from The Times in years, and aside from Michael Atherton’s cricket writing, I don’t miss it at all (best bit: blissful Giles Coren-free existence) I might pay for access to the Grauniad, though.

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Throw your bodies under the plowshare afore it take us all!

Perfectly sterile and safely out of mind.

Came here to make a joke about fart cap-and-trades…then Googled “fart cap-and-trade” --now I’m paying a bad thought tax of my own…


It’s just how they are tracking you on the Internet, now.