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Google has given the public a preview of what Internet news results may look like if EU Copyright Directive Article 11 passes. Under this directive, news aggregators like Google and Bing would be required to pay non-waivable licensing fees in order to display image thumbnails and small text snippets from news articles.

The European Parliament backed the controversial copyright directive in September 2018 following the rejection of an earlier version in July 2018. Under the directive, the EU seeks to make certain companies liable for infringement of copyrighted content uploaded onto their online platforms (Article 13), and to require news aggregators to pay for displaying anything more than a link to a news source (Article 11).

The directive has proven divisive. Though proponents argue that the law could help protect copyright holders and traditional publishers, critics have expressed concerns over the directive's potential effects on small publishers and the quality of search engine news aggregation results.

In its most recent update on the matter, Google gave SearchEngineLand access to an experiment showing what news search results may look like if Article 11 passes -- devoid of image thumbnails, article titles, and text previews.

The image follows a blog post published by Google News Vice President Richard Gingras in December, who warned that under Article 11:

... search engines, news aggregators, apps, and platforms would have to put commercial licences in place, and make decisions about which content to include on the basis of those licensing agreements and which to leave out.

Effectively, companies like Google will be put in the position of picking winners and losers. Online services, some of which generate no revenue (for instance, Google News) would have to make choices about which publishers they’d do deals with. Presently, more than 80,000 news publishers around the world can show up in Google News, but Article 11 would sharply reduce that number.

Though the licensing fees paid by Google and similar companies under Article 11 could potentially benefit content creators, that assumes the companies would be willing to pay the fees rather than alter their products.

In late 2014, Google announced that it was closing down its Google News product in Spain after the country passed legislation that would have required it to pay publishers for displaying a preview of news articles. Google had called the requirement 'unsustainable,' stating that it doesn't display ads on Google News and does not make revenue from that product.

In 2015, following the loss of Google News, an analysis by NERA Consulting found that publishers in the country experienced an average traffic drop of 6%, with small publishers suffering the most at 14%. German publishers experienced similar issues in 2014.