Google has announced it is shutting down its Google News service in Spain. The service in Spain will end on 16 December before a new intellectual property law goes into effect in January.
The new Spanish law will allow publications in the country to charge fees to sites like Google News if their content appears on their webpages.
However, in Google’s defense, the firm said does not generate revenue from its search-based service.
Richard Gingras, head of Google News, said the following in a blog post on Wednesday:
“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,”
He said that the new law was not sustainable, as it would result in publishers in Spain charging Google “for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications”.
“Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site),”
Publishers always have the choice of opting out of Google News if they want to, Mr Gingras pointed out.
He noted how Google News can actually be a very useful tool for publishers.
“The vast majority choose to be included for very good reason. Google News creates real value for these publications by driving people to their websites, which in turn helps generate advertising revenues,” he said.
The new legislation, now known as the “Google Tax”, does not say how much the firm would have to pay publishers to add their content.
Newspaper publishers have argued for a while that services such as Google News infringe on their copyright.
Since Germany revised its copyright laws in 2013 Google has asked publishers for their consent to add snippets of their content.
Is shutting down Google News in Spain in the best interest of publishers?
The perplexing thing about this new law is that it may not actually be in the best interest of all Spanish publications. Many websites depend on traffic brought in by Google, as it helps them increase exposure and traffic – in turn increasing profits.
Will this be a decision that many will come to regret?