Article from Reason by Scott Shackford.

In a warning to European Union leaders of what might happen if a controversial “link tax” is implemented, Google has templated what European news consumers will see if when they search for a news story under the new rule: essentially a bunch of blank pages with publication names, but no preview content, headlines, or descriptive text.

This could potentially be what Google does with its search function in response to Article 11 of the European Copyright Directive, a massive regulatory proposal currently being hammered out that could have disastrous implications for online content sharing.

Article 11 would require those who link back to news coverage with “snippets” or excerpts of the content to get permission from the linked media sites, which would potentially require payment of a fee. This is being presented as a way of protecting journalists and publishers from wholesale copyright theft by republishers.

But stopping sneaky online thieves from mass republishing other peoples’ content is not what Article 11 actually does. It’s clearly and obviously an attempt by big publishers to get their hands on money raked in by major internet directories like Google. In December, Google’s Vice President of News Richard Gringas noted that Article 11 is actually targeting parts of online news services that often don’t generate revenue for them. In the end, this could put search engines like Google in the position of deciding who does and not get indexed. That’s possibly the actual point. Gringas notes…

Read the entire article at Reason.

Image Credit: By Edi Wibowo [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons