Friday, 12 December 2014
Google's European battles continue
It is actually pathetic how far European regulators are capable of ruining their economies. The recent decision by Google to shut down its news service in response to the Spanish government's idiotic new law shows the extent to which politicians are captured by the local press. The law actually forces publishers to charge Google for linking to their sites, in other words, publishers are not allowed to let Google report their articles for free. No doubt the law was inspired by the German experience (where powerful national papers were also bullying the government). In Germany many papers opted out of charging Google. Spain forces the publishers to charge Google with a minimum fee, essentially creating a powerful newspaper union. Not only does this protectionism hurt the economy, it also weakens the government that is - evidently - already at the mercy of the national press.