Google link tax might be reproduced in Italy after the negative experience that led to the shutting down of Google News in Spain as a consequence of the approval of a similar law.

The current status

The friction between editors, Google and in general web companies has been quite harsh in Italy lately. This is one of the reasons why a notice and take down for copyright breaches occurring over the Internet was introduced last year.  But the battle is not over as confirmed by the discussions of last year and of even the last days on a possible web tax which in its more recent version was meant to replicate the UK proposal taxing the revenues generated by companies located outside of the country.

The link tax

The proposal of link tax currently being discussed by the Government is aimed at obliging Internet news aggregators such as Google News to reach a commercial agreement with the editors.  In absence of such agreement on the link tax to be paid, a dispute will arise before either the Italian competition authority, the AgCom, or the Government itself as a mediation attempt before the dispute escalates before courts.

The Spanish negative precedent

A Spanish law came into force in January 2015 requiring services which post links and excerpts of news articles to pay a fee (the link tax) to the Association of Editors of Spanish Dailies (AEDE) without giving the possibility to publishers to opt out or offer their content for free. The reaction to such link tax was Google’s decision to shut down Google News in Spain which according to the press led to a reduction in the Internet traffic.