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Google News Closes In Spain Thanks To New Copyright Law

A new copyright law is being introduced in Spain that forces news aggregation services to pay the news sites from which they grab links. It will be in effect starting January 2015.

You might wonder who this affects, but the answer is simple – any site like Google News, which pulls links to various news articles and posts them in a single aggregate collection. If you've ever used Google News, you probably know how convenient it can be to have such a service.

Naturally, Google isn't very happy about this new law, and for good reason. It doesn't actually show any advertising on the site, meaning that it makes no money from Google News. To start paying news providers despite not making any revenue is just silly. What's Google's solution? Get up and leave.

As of December 16, the Google News service will no longer be available in Spain, and readers will either have to look for other news aggregation services that will put up with the new law, or simply start browsing their favorite news sources one by one.

"As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable," said Richard Gingras, Head of Google News. "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."

We haven't even touched the best part of this conundrum yet, though. Google News brings heaps of traffic to various news sites, increasing their traffic numbers substantially, which helps them obtain more advertising revenue, so it is in their best interests to have Google News exist. Heck, surely many, if not all, news sites wouldn't even think of charging the search giant for posting links to their content.

So, who's behind this law? Traditional newspaper publishers that are upset at news aggregation services taking snippets of their work and posting it on their websites. Sure, technically, these snippets are intellectual property, but the whole point of aggregation services is to show you a given story's headline and perhaps the first sentence to entice you to click the link. All that these publishers have accomplished is to shoot themselves in the foot. If it mattered that much to them, they could have just decided to opt-out from Google News – the company does offer that option.

It sounds to us that this whole thing was either due to complete ignorance about the purpose of and technology behind news aggregation sites, or traditional publishers are trying to hurt the success of web-based media properties. 

Follow Niels Broekhuijsen @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Niels Broekhuijsen
Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware news on all components and peripherals.
  • Yuka
    Woah... Wait a second.

    "It doesn't actually show any advertising on the site, meaning that it makes no money from Google News"

    By mere logic, companies make money out of every possible service they provide. Google is no holy grail or saint company here. They DO make a profit out of that service. Let me re-phrase it, maybe it will be better understood: they MONETIZE you being there in some other way we don't know about.

    We can debate all day long about how much they make and what not, but they DO make money out of that service.

    I won't say it doesn't suck they pulled GNews from there because of this law, but let's not paint this as something "evil" towards the internet and/or whatever from Spain's part.

    I do feel that content creators deserve money for what they create, and Newspaper sites are, like it or not, content creators just like any blogger out there (even if they copy/steal information from other sites at times -> interesting catch of the law). They just have the resources to fight Google (and win in this case).

    TL;DR: let's not pain Google as a saint, cause they're just another Company.

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • kenjitamura
    Woah... Wait a second.

    "It doesn't actually show any advertising on the site, meaning that it makes no money from Google News"

    By mere logic, companies make money out of every possible service they provide. Google is no holy grail or saint company here. They DO make a profit out of that service. Let me re-phrase it, maybe it will be better understood: they MONETIZE you being there in some other way we don't know about.

    We can debate all day long about how much they make and what not, but they DO make money out of that service.

    I won't say it doesn't suck they pulled GNews from there because of this law, but let's not paint this as something "evil" towards the internet and/or whatever from Spain's part.

    I do feel that content creators deserve money for what they create, and Newspaper sites are, like it or not, content creators just like any blogger out there (even if they copy/steal information from other sites at times -> interesting catch of the law). They just have the resources to fight Google (and win in this case).

    TL;DR: let's not pain Google as a saint, cause they're just another Company.

    Cheers!

    Way to not read the article at all. All your points become completely invalid with this quote from the article:
    If it mattered that much to them, they could have just decided to opt-out from Google News – the company does offer that option.

    Google may be another company, but they might as well be using the slogan: "Not completely evil" because they're one of the only companies to actually show some scruples with their services.

    Bottom line: this is a ridiculous law and Spain are the bad guys here, not Google.
    Reply
  • TheSpeedFire
    Im from Canary Islands, and Im really embarraced about my nationality.. the "politic class" is full of retarded peolple, the worst ever seen so far. One facepalm maker fact: our president does NOT speak any other languaje than spanish... just saying...
    Reply
  • Yuka
    14791133 said:
    Woah... Wait a second.

    "It doesn't actually show any advertising on the site, meaning that it makes no money from Google News"

    By mere logic, companies make money out of every possible service they provide. Google is no holy grail or saint company here. They DO make a profit out of that service. Let me re-phrase it, maybe it will be better understood: they MONETIZE you being there in some other way we don't know about.

    We can debate all day long about how much they make and what not, but they DO make money out of that service.

    I won't say it doesn't suck they pulled GNews from there because of this law, but let's not paint this as something "evil" towards the internet and/or whatever from Spain's part.

    I do feel that content creators deserve money for what they create, and Newspaper sites are, like it or not, content creators just like any blogger out there (even if they copy/steal information from other sites at times -> interesting catch of the law). They just have the resources to fight Google (and win in this case).

    TL;DR: let's not pain Google as a saint, cause they're just another Company.

    Cheers!

    Way to not read the article at all. All your points become completely invalid with this quote from the article:
    If it mattered that much to them, they could have just decided to opt-out from Google News – the company does offer that option.

    Google may be another company, but they might as well be using the slogan: "Not completely evil" because they're one of the only companies to actually show some scruples with their services.

    Bottom line: this is a ridiculous law and Spain are the bad guys here, not Google.

    I did read it. I just twisted (a little) what Google does and we don't say much (because we don't see money eveywhere like they do): why do they need to do an "opt out" from it? Why didn't they approach the sites asking if they wanted to be involved in GNews?

    From the way the News-sites reacted, I'm sure Google didn't approach them asking if they wanted to get their web pages crawled.

    I know I'm pushing the argument, but I'm not trying to say Google is on the wrong. Internet is "the land to take over" and companies are pushing the boundaries until the Governments put rules for the harvest.

    The best analogy here is "gold rush". This is the 21st century version of the old Wild West.

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • Solandri
    14791133 said:
    From the way the News-sites reacted, I'm sure Google didn't approach them asking if they wanted to get their web pages crawled.
    By definition, if you put something on the web, you are giving the world permission to visit/crawl it. What are you thinking - that I should have to send Toms Hardware an email to get permission every time I wish to visit their website?
    Reply
  • Morbus
    I'm in Portugal, which is just next door, and I can only laugh at my miserable neighbors. Poor, poor Spanish news sites. I'm sure our own politicians are way WAY worse than theirs, but at least they don't come up with crap like this that kills their own businesses and cripples their intellectual property.

    Still, no reason to feel ashamed of being Spanish. It's a proud and great country. You should be ashamed if you voted for clowns like these though...
    Reply
  • Yuka
    14791911 said:
    14791133 said:
    From the way the News-sites reacted, I'm sure Google didn't approach them asking if they wanted to get their web pages crawled.
    By definition, if you put something on the web, you are giving the world permission to visit/crawl it. What are you thinking - that I should have to send Toms Hardware an email to get permission every time I wish to visit their website?

    That's an interesting counterpoint and I concede. Still, just remember now all the content you put in the WWW is not "public" per sé. That's why banks try, you know, to keep things safe.

    I won't get into what Google crawls or not, but I'm sure this is about "content creation" and not about "rights to crawl". In this case, the idea is to protect "content creators", I'd say. I haven't read the actual law and, like you and most here, I'm just assuming a lot of things from the little information the Article lets know.

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • Vorador2
    Rumors say that this was a freebie by the current government, in order to get the traditional newspapers (which are the main promoters of the law) and media on their side since elections are due next year. It wouldn't surprise me, since the newspapers and TV were reporting their corruption cases and making TV specials, and since the law was approved updates on those ongoing cases are surprisingly scarce. Plus those same media are fiercely bashing "Podemos", the newly formed party of left-wing ideology that has a chance on getting a big slice of the electoral pie in the upcoming elections.

    The latest news is now the AEDE (the organization that was pushing for the new law, and the one that would collect the revenue) has put forward a beyond shameless communication complaining about Google's decision and invoking both "european and spanish authorities" to involve themselves in order to "protect companies and individuals rights".

    At this point, i don't know how to apologize for the idiocy of my own government. Hopefully next year's election will put them in their place.
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    The Spanish media should be careful what they ask for. I'm not sure if they realized they just taxed the main thing that gives them free(as in they don't pay for it) publicity all over the web. Something tells me in 2015 the law will get changed.
    Reply
  • Yuka
    14793354 said:
    Erm, Google only offers headlines and a small synopsis of a story, and redirects all traffic to the news source. Have you actually used Google News? This only hurts the news stations.

    It's just like any other RSS feed out there: grabs partial content and displays the title. In this case, I think the sites don't provide the RSS, but Google seems to be getting it by themselves (I'm not 100% sure).

    And Vorador2's theory is very interesting.

    Cheers!
    Reply