Google News shutting down service in Spain

Google News shutting down service in Spain
Google will halt its Google News service in Spain on Dec. 16. (Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty Images)

Google News announced it is shutting down its operation in Spain in response to recent legislation that would charge news aggregators for linking to or posting excerpts of content from local outlets.

Google will disable the service and pull Spanish publications from its international editions on Dec. 16, before Spain’s copyright law takes effect in January, the Mountain View company said late Wednesday.

The law, nicknamed the “Google tax” does not mention how much Google would have to pay Spanish publishers, but it would charge “for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications,” said Richard Gingras, head of Google News.

Aggregators who fail to pay the Association of Editors of Spanish Dailies, which represents that country's news industry, would face a 600,000 euro (about $750,000) fine, Bloomberg reports.

“As Google News itself makes no money... this new approach is simply not sustainable,” Gingras wrote in a blog post.

Spain’s legislation is harsher than a similar law in Germany because it calls for compulsory payment, Google said.

That German law, passed last year, failed to produce the desired results. Publishers willingly gave Google their content for free after realizing how much traffic they would lose without being indexed by the search engine, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit digital rights group.

Banning the use of text snippets alongside website links is counterproductive, Jeremy Malcolm, the group’s senior global policy analyst, said in a blog post.

“It's time for Europe to turn back from this misguided path of Internet content regulation before more damage to the open Internet is done,” he said.

Google News runs more than 70 international editions in 35 languages, the company said. 

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