Spain pushes for 'Google tax' to restrict linking. Could it kill Twitter and Facebook there, too?

"Linking is not a crime!," say those opposed to Spain's proposed "Google tax."

"Linking is not a crime!," say those opposed to Spain's proposed "Google tax."

Marilín Gonzalo, an Argentinian blogger and journalist living in Spain, writes in with news about "a terrible bill the Spanish government passed in Congress last week."

All the internet community is against it but it seems we are not being heard, as the mainstream print newspapers stand to benefit from this new law, and won't publish news about it.

The government wants to put a tax on *linking* on the internet. They say that if you want to link to some newspaper's content, you have to pay a tax. The primary targets of this law are Google News and other aggregators.

It would be absurd enough just like that, but the law goes further: they declared it an "inalienable right" so even if I have a blog or a new small digital media publication and I want to let people freely link to my content, I can't opt-out--they are charging the levy, and giving it to the big press media.

It was just the last and only way that the old traditional media companies can get some money from the government, and they strongly lobbied for it. The bill has passed in the Congress where the party in the government has majority (PP, Partido Popular) and it's headed to the Senate, where they have a majority also.

There are many more details and the law goes even further to threaten the right to fair use in digital media. They want to penalize various forms of social media traffic, and some here believe that this is part of a plan to limit the free expression and circulation of information outside of Spain's few big newspapers.

Menéame (a Spanish version of Digg we have here) is talking about leaving the country. Facebook and Twitter could be affected in Spain, too, if the government demands that they also pay the new tax.

We are trying to alert the internet community in other countries, so our voice is heard.

Here are some useful links you may like to look at:

The Story of Spain’s Google Tax

Spain's 'Google tax' could kill Facebook and Twitter

Creadores, editores y medios: no estamos los que somos

La "Tasa Google" costará más de 1000 millones al año a los usuarios españoles

España desconectada

Here's another good article (in Spanish) about the new law: "¿Por qué no solo Menéame, Google News, Twitter o Facebook se verán afectadas por el Canon AEDE?"