The European Union may soon force Google to start paying for displaying news snippets through its Search service, particularly its Google News component. A European Parliament committee on Wednesday approved the draft of a controversial copyright law meant to replace the political bloc's existing regulatory framework enacted in 2001. The EU says its old rules are outdated as they were drafted before the Internet 2.0 revolution and the rise of content aggregators and social media, all of which are now taking revenue away from news publishers, artists, and other kinds of content creators.
Google and a wide variety of other technology companies lobbied against the legislation in an aggressive manner, arguing it will eliminate the open nature of the Internet by doing away with complete freedom of expression. If enacted in its current form and fully enforced, the same copyright law may even spell the end of internet memes in Europe, most of which utilize copyrighted images, even though such content generally isn't created and shared for profit. While the EU pointed to the need to help news organizations and other content creators as the main reason behind its latest legislative initiative, Google doesn't appear to be willing to pay for news in any shape or form, as indicated by the fact that it said the law will prevent it from sending traffic to publishers, suggesting it may simply discontinue its aggregation services such as Google News in Europe if the legislation is enacted.
Under the current proposal, social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter would also be forced to adopt filters preventing users from uploading copyrighted materials to their servers, whether those are songs, memes, or news articles. European Parliament members pushing against the initiative are presently seeking to force a full assembly vote in July. Alphabet's subsidiary and many other technology companies were recently forced to change a significant portion of their business practices in Europe after the political bloc's General Data Protection Regulation entered force in late May, immediately causing issues for a number of major firms across the world.