Google could kill Google News in EU over controversial proposed law

Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. 

Stephen Shankland/Techhnews

If the European Union goes ahead with a controversial set of changes to digital copyright, Google could pull its Google News service from the continent, according to a report Monday by Bloomberg.

Google has spoken out repeatedly over the EU Copyright Directive, which the search giant argues would gut its news service. One portion of the directive, called Article 11, would require Google and other search engines to pay licensing fees to publishers when they feature snippets of their content in search results.

One response to the proposed new rules would be shutting down the service in the EU, Jennifer Bernal, Google’s public policy manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told Bloomberg. But the decision would be “taken reluctantly,” the report said.

The finalized language was expected this week but has been delayed because of disagreements among member states, Bloomberg said.

Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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But the search giant has been vocal about its opposition to the directive. Last week, Google said it was experimenting with a version of its search engine that complied with the directive, and screenshots of the service showed a barren results page without images or descriptions of the news stories.

The EU Copyright directive is the latest example of attempts to rein in Google in Europe. On Monday, a French regulator said it fined Google 50 million euros (about $57 million) for not properly disclosing to users how their data is collected and used for targeted advertising.

The penalty is the biggest yet imposed under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, a law that went into effect in May that gives Europeans more control over their information and how companies use it.

Search results erased: Google forced to remove search results in EU ‘right to be forgotten’ case.

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