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Korba Prep School

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Why Google should leave Europe

Spanish lawmakers did something dumb this week. They passed a new law that forces Google to pay news publishers a fee for sending valuable, monetizable content from Google News to their sites.

Lobbied by the Spanish Newspaper Publishers' Association (AEDE), the government determined that the summaries and thumbnail photos that accompany links in Google News constitute an infringement of copyright. Therefore, they argued, Google should pay the copyright holders for it.

Because Google doesn't place advertising on Google News sites, the so-called "Google Tax" would require Google to lose money for the privilege of sending valuable traffic to news sites.

So Google will do the inevitable and rational thing: It'll close Spain's version of Google News.

(The law goes into effect in January, but Google will close the news site on Tuesday.)

After Google's announcement, the AEDE freaked out and called for the government to stop Google News from being closed, saying: "AEDE requires the intervention of Spanish and community authorities, and competition authorities, to effectively protect the rights of citizens and companies."

Note that they're not requesting a removal of the law; they're asking the government to force Google News to stay open and also pay the Google Tax.

The Spanish episode is part of a larger trend among regulators and politicians in Europe to strongly reduce the influence of U.S. Internet companies in general -- and to damage Google in particular.

Google needs to leave Europe just like they left China, and for the same reason:

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