In response to a new Spanish law, Google has announced that as of December 16th, it will be shutting down Google News in Spain and removing all Spanish Publishers from their lists.
The new law, which comes into affect in January, requires Spanish publications to charge news aggregators a royalty fee from those who use snippets of text from an article. This applies to online news aggregators who have a search function, such as Google News, Yahoo News and there are also several homegrown ones that will be affected as the law does not discriminate on country of origin. The payment is considered an ‘inalienable right’ and thus, cannot be waved even if the publishers was to, or use a copyright like Creative Commons that is supposed to enable free sharing of content. That is the main difference between it and the German law that passed last year, which many company’s opted to allow various aggregators to continue doing so, and opting out of payments.
In a blog post on the matter, the Head of Google News, Richard Gingras wrote on the matter about why Google feels the change requires them to pull out of Spain and on the matter in general:
“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.
For centuries publishers were limited in how widely they could distribute the printed page. The Internet changed all that — creating tremendous opportunities but also real challenges for publishers as competition both for readers’ attention and for advertising Euros increased. We’re committed to helping the news industry meet that challenge and look forward to continuing to work with our thousands of partners globally, as well as in Spain, to help them increase their online readership and revenues. “
What do you think of Spain’s new law? Do you think that it is going to significantly hurt the Spanish media? Are European countries too worried about American Firms size and overreacting?