GOOGLE IS PREPARED to pull out the big guns in its battle with the European Parliament over plans to introduce a link tax.
Google has not-at-all menacingly reminded the EU of what happened when Spain introduced something similar in 2014. Reminder: Google News was pulled in the country and publishers expecting a lifeline were instead robbed of the traffic Google provided.
"We would not like to see that happen in Europe," Richard Gingras, Google's vice president of news told The Guardian. "Right now what we want to do is work with stakeholders."
Yes, it's the 'taking my ball and going home' approach to taxation - although as Google the search engine would still operate in Europe, it's closer to taking one of the corner flags and then playing on in this increasingly fragile analogy.
The trouble, according to Gingras, is that Google News doesn't directly make any money for Google.
"There's no advertising in Google News," he said. "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."
The flip side to this, of course, is that Google isn't a company that's exactly cash-strapped, and if it's really concerned about offering a "service to society" with news, then it could consider paying a little cash to publishers as part of that.
In a statement given to INQ, Google clarified: "As Richard Gingras explained in his interview with The Guardian, there are several versions of the European copyright directive that are being discussed, and it's too early to speculate about how the final version of the directive would impact our products.
"We welcome the chance to work with policymakers and the industry to find a solution that benefits journalists and publishers - big and small, old and new."
For now, the lobbying efforts continue. Gingras concedes that "it's not desirable to shut down services" (RIP Google Buzz, Wave and Plus), but the option remains on the table if the EU is unmoved by Google's words.
And yes, if Britain is in its Brexit transition period when any legislation comes in, it would likely affect the UK as well. Rule takers, not rule makers, remember? µ
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