Jennifer Bernal, Google’s public policy manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the search giant may pull its News service from Europe if regulators are successful in implementing a copyright law that would put restrictions on sites aggregating news.
Bernal admits it would require a “close reading of the rules,” Bloomberg reports.
News results keep mobile users coming back to its search engine. The queries that occur when people look up information related to news often land them on YouTube or specific sites that use Google’s advertising network to serve ads.
Bloomberg reports that lawmakers continue to hash out a way to define the excerpts of stories that end up in queries, and whether individual words should be covered by the copyright rules.
The rules also would require companies that aggregate news to actively prevent music, videos and other copyrighted content from serving up in query results if rights holders didn’t grant them a license.
Google does not make money from its news service, so it is unlikely that the company would take a financial hit from withdrawing, but smaller publishers could feel the pain.
Interestingly, Google shut its news service in Spain in 2014 after a law required news publishers to charge sites that aggregate news. Small publishers lost about 13% of their web traffic, according to Bloomberg, citing a 2017 study released by the Spanish Association of Publishers of Periodical Publications.