Google News shuts down in Spain →

December 11, 2014 |

Google Europe Blog:

But sadly, 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.

How disgraceful. The new law not only forces publishers to charge aggregators — the tax is mandatory — but they’re actually consolidating the collection of profits into a legal entity, sort of an association of publishers.

This effectively means that if a small publisher is not affiliated with this entity, they will collect payment on her behalf and split it among their affiliated members, and the original publisher won’t see a dime. And since it is mandatory, the tax will always be collected, even if the publisher releases her work under a Creative Commons non-commercial license. That’s about how much sense this law makes. It’s just ridiculous.

This poorly-thought joke of a law is nothing but a desperate attempt by traditional newspaper owners, who are colluding with the government to save their own lazy asses. But if they think this is the way to survive in the digital era, they’re in for a rude awakening.

As a Spanish citizen and Internet publisher, I’m deeply ashamed of this law. I’m also way too angry to write a measured article about it right now, so let’s leave it at that.