This is from the Department of Who-could-have-seen-this-coming:

As a reaction to a change in Spanish copyright law (Article 32.2) effectively requiring payment for the right to link to newspapers, for example as part of a news aggregator, Google has announced today it is going to shut down “Google News” in Spain and will remove links to articles in Spanish newspaper from the remaining News services by December 16. This action resembles the chain of events that have occurred in Germany after the introduction of a differently worded but in essence similar law (“Presseverleger-Leistungsschutzrecht”).

There is no reason to assume this will be the last search service shut down and presumably the beginning of a series of lawsuits involving publishers, collecting societies and alleged infringers of this Spanish copyright law and the German Presseverleger-Leistungsschutzrecht. So far, the scorecard of these laws is entirely negative to users, publishers, journalists and even collecting societies, with one notable exception: Copyright lawyers will have plenty of income for the foreseeable future. While Google’s pockets are deep enough to engage in such a trench warfare of lawsuits and selective shutdown of services (among other things thanks to a working business model and astonishingly legal arrangements with some states to pay little or no taxes), smaller companies and especially startups might not be lucky to survive this war of hyperlinks.

At a time when it has never been easier to deliver data to a huge global audience, a number of countries are introducing artificial barriers to content and to tools that allow its discovery.

At the same time the European Parliament is debating the discomfort about and relief to monopolies in the online world, these laws disproportionally hurt anyone except the behemoths of the internet economy.

To the extent possible under law, the creator has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.

My name is Julia, I'm the Pirate in the European Parliament.

I'm fighting to make copyright in the EU unified, progressive and fit for the future. Will you join me?

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