For the first time in its history, Google has announced that it will shut down Google News for an entire nation -- Spain -- and remove all Spanish publications from its index of news reports. The changes, blamed on changes to Spain's copyright law, will take effect Tuesday.
The issue, according to a post on Google's Europe Blog by Richard Gingras, senior director of news and social products, is recent legislation enacted by the Spanish government that will require news aggregators like Google to pay a fee to publishers for use of headlines and story snippets that then link to the publishers' Web sites. The new law, set to go into effect Jan. 1, covers all types of publications, including bloggers, national newspapers and local news outlets. Publications would be required to charge companies like Google even if they opposed the fees.
Jumping the Gun?
Google News currently maintains 70 international editions covering 35 languages. The free service allows users to browse stories from a vast number of publications across the globe. Publishers can choose whether or not they want their articles to appear on the Google News page.
"It's a service that hundreds of millions of users love and trust, including many here in Spain," Gingras said. "Google news creates real value for these publications by driving people to their Web sites, which in turn helps generate advertising revenues."
The modifications to the country's intellectual property laws were written and enacted by Spain's center-right Popular Party, and approved in October. The law was passed over the unanimous opposition of Spain's other political parties. The Spanish government has still not determined the formula for determining how much news aggregators will have to pay publishers for using their headlines and linking to their content.
José Ignacio Wert, Spain's minister of education, culture and sports, accused Google of jumping the gun with its decision to cease operations in the country, pointing out that no decision has been made with regard to the amount aggregators will have to pay publishers, which has yet to be negotiated.
'Spain Is Different'
Spain also is not the first country to enact such legislation. Germany, France and Belgium have all passed laws affirming that news headlines constitute intellectual property for their publishers, giving them the power to charge aggregators like Google News for using them.
However, Spain's law is different in one key aspect. According to the text of the legislation, the right to compensation for the use of intellectual property is considered "irrenunciable," meaning that a publisher cannot renounce its right to compensation even if that was its wish. That difference seems to have been the key issue behind Google's decision to close up shop in the country.
Gingras pointed out in his post that Google runs no advertising on the Google News portal and charges no fee for use. Since the service generates no revenue for the company, the new law is "simply not sustainable," he wrote.
Posted: 2014-12-14 @ 8:47pm PT
Google should charge publishers to link to their global internet distribution system! The publishers get much more out of the current set up than does Google. Are people in Spain really this ignorant?
Posted: 2014-12-13 @ 9:18pm PT
"Anon" is stupid unless he seems to think a headline and MAYBE a sentence is the sum of all the content produced by the various Spanish publishers. He seems to be saying the Spanish publishers product is so shallow that a headline, which many times is all that is displayed, is the sum of the content. Oh no, we better stop people from reading the headlines at newspaper stands - better that they just buy the paper sight unseen.
Some people don't really seem to think.
Posted: 2014-12-13 @ 6:14am PT
You are forgetting two things:
1) To appear in Google News, publishers et al. need to subscribe themselves. On Google News, nothing appears that the publishers did not tell Google to appear.
2) Try to go to a newspaper and tell them you want a 1 page ad in them and that they should pay you for running that ad.
Google makes free promotion that otherwise would be quite expensive. Publishers can also opt out of Google general search by using a robots.txt.
However, the publishers want to be found in Google, they use SEO to get highest ranking possible.
Who is profiting from whom? In the offline world, those that want advertisement places in mediums would have to pay dearly for it. Google makes free advertisement without asking for money.
Posted: 2014-12-12 @ 7:41pm PT
Really it's a shock news for spain people...from bizbilla
Posted: 2014-12-12 @ 2:02pm PT
"Gingras pointed out in his post that Google runs no advertising on the Google News portal and charges no fee for use."
This is amazing. Google *copies* other users' content, displays it using Google's own servers and then would have the world believe it's doing us a favor because it doesn't charge us for viewing the copied material! This is an obvious copyright violation by Google.
Also, it would be erroneous to think Google makes no money with their news portal since the portal drives traffic to all of their other web properties, some of which do generate revenue. It also bolsters their brand which of course amounts (indirectly) to free advertising for them. And then they have the audacity to complain when someone asks them to pay a little money for all that content they've improperly taken. Wow.
Good job Spain.
Posted: 2014-12-11 @ 3:29pm PT