Google News Set To Receive Banhammer in Spain

A new Spanish intellectual property law is set to take effect on January 1, which will require aggregators to pay to link content from news publishers. As a response to the law, Google announced on Thursday that it would be closing Google News in Spain. In addition to that, it will also block reports from Spanish publishers from over 70 Google News international editions.

“This new legislation requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not,” said head of Google News Richard Gingras in a blog. “As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable.” 

The shutdown of 
Google News in Spain, set for January 16, means that people in Latin America will be unable to see news from Spain via Google News. In addition, the shutdown will also affect reports in English from Spanish publishers. However, a standard Google search in Spain will allow people to find articles from Spanish publications since the new law only affects aggregators and doesn’t include individuals who conduct their own searches outside of Google News.

Google

This is the first time that Google News will be shut down since its launch back in 2002. So far, Spanish publications have offered no comment on the shutdown, while Google continues to state that it complies with all copyright laws and that it also allows publishers to prevent material from being displayed on Google News.

However, this isn’t the first time that Google News has been targeted. Last year Germany revised its copyright laws that would allow Google News to make royalty payments to publishers, but didn’t force the company to pay the royalties. As a result, Google required publishers to give their consent in order for Google to offer summarized content. 

How this will affect web traffic to Spanish publications has yet to be seen. But chances are, the shutdown of Google News might have a similar affect as to what happened to German publications that conducted a two-week experiment that restricted Google from using news. The result was that traffic coming from clicks on Google search results to these sites fell by 40 percent and that traffic coming via Google News plunged by 80 percent.

Do you think the shutdown of Google News will force Spain to cancel its new law and cause publishers to stop looking at the company as a “freeloader?”


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