A controversial new European copyright law could force Google pull its Google News service from the continent.
The European Union is working towards finalizing new rules that give publishers rights to demand money from the Alphabet Inc. unit, Facebook Inc. and other web platforms, when small fragments of their articles show up in news search results, or are shared by users.
According to Jennifer Bernal, Google public policy manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, th internet giant has various options on the table and will analyze the final text before making any decisions, adding that Google would withdraw its service reluctantly.
The EU was planning to finalize the rules early this week but that’s been postponed due to disagreement among member states about some items of the package.
Google has said it doesn’t make money from its news service so withdrawing it is unlikely to lead to a financial hit. But news results keep mobile users coming back to its search engine, where they often type in other queries that generate ad revenue.
Separately, the new copyright rules would also require Google and Facebook to actively prevent music, videos and other copyrighted content from appearing on their platforms if rights holders don’t grant them a license.
A possible Google withdraw of its news service would have an impact to publishers who rely on the search giant for traffic to their sites.
Google says the new EU laws would force it to choose which publishers to license to, effectively picking winners and losers. Because bigger publishers typically offer a broader range of popular content, that means small publishers are likely to lose out.