Search giant Google faces being hit by a substantial bill in Spain after authorities there ordered it to pay a fee every time it links to a story published by a Spanish newspaper publisher.
The draft law, supported by the Spanish government, is to be voted on by the country’s parliament today and will force Google to cough up for any link it hosts alongside a ‘meaningful’ description.
It follows attempts to introduce similar laws elsewhere on the continent, notably France, Belgium and Germany with Google presently embroiled in a stand-off with the latter over a demand to secure copyright for any content it publishes other than straight links.
Google has thus far refused to play ball with these demands however, issuing an ultimatum to publishers either to allow it free access to their content or face banishment from the likes of Google News. Some publishers have since backed down but Axel Springer, publisher of Bild, are still pressing their case.
In Spain question marks remain as to what level the fees would be set at and the enforceability of any law even if approved.