Google has decided to shut down Google News in Spain. This drastic step will occur next week and is the result of a recently passed Spanish law that would have compelled Google to pay licensing revenues to Spanish publishers if their content appeared in Google News — even headlines.
Some Spanish publishers, including newspaper group AEDE, had tried to turn Google into a source of mandatory licensing revenue through an ill-conceived copyright and anti-piracy law that would have required fees for even the smallest bits of content in Google News.
The law is slated to go into effect on January 1, 2015. Google’s preemptive move will not affect traditional search results where news content will still appear. In a blog post this evening the company explained its decision:
[S]adly, as a result of a new Spanish law, we’ll shortly have to close Google News in Spain. Let me explain why. 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. As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable. So it’s with real sadness that on 16 December (before the new law comes into effect in January) we’ll remove Spanish publishers from Google News, and close Google News in Spain.
The Spanish law followed in the wake of a similar failed attempt in Germany to extract licensing revenues from Google. In Germany Google had asked news publishers to sign liability waivers in order to have their “snippets” included in Google News. However the Spanish law goes further and makes it effectively impossible for individual publishers to waive their copyright licensing “rights” under the new statute — …read more