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Leonid Bershidsky

Why "Google Tax" Became a Catchphrase

In the eyes of Europeans, Google is turning into a new evil empire, as Microsoft did before it.
Catch me if you can.

Catch me if you can.

Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

The "Google tax" badly needs a dictionary definition. Both Spain and the U.K. recently introduced one, but the two measures are completely different. Sure, journalists use the search giant's name for click bait, but their choice also signals that in Europe Google has come to embody the evil excesses of the U.S.-dominated tech industry.

The Spanish version of the "Google tax" is a payment to the Association of Editors of Spanish Dailies, a media industry group, for the right to publish links to, and excerpts from, news stories. This is not the first time Google has been hit with something of this kind: Germany and Belgium imposed similar levies, only for the search company to fight back by pulling links to content produced by the measures' proponents. Traffic dropped and media groups in the two countries cried uncle, agreeing not to demand payment.