Google News has long had a slightly awkward relationship with the traditional news industry. Beloved by many publications for the massive traffic it sends to featured websites, the service also has a way of making some publishers uncomfortable on copyright grounds. In Spain, this awkward tango just got a whole lot weirder.
Last week, Google announced that it will shut down Google News in Spain and remove Spanish publishers from Google News internationally in response to a restrictive new intellectual copyright law. Now the Association of Editors of Spanish Dailies (AEDE)–the very group that lobbied for the new law–is begging the Spanish government to help lure back Google News.
As Google News head Richard Gingras explained in a blog post last week:
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.
The shutdown would instantly deprive Spanish publishers of a significant source of traffic.
From The Spain Report:
The Spanish Newspaper Publishers’ Association (AEDE) issued a statement last night saying that Google News was “not just the closure of another service given its dominant market position”, recognising that Google’s decision: “will undoubtedly have a negative impact on citizens and Spanish businesses”.
As our own Chris Gayomali pointed out last week, the removal of Spanish sources from Google News will have ramifications well beyond Spain’s borders: “Spanish newspapers will no longer appear in other international editions of Google News, which might not mean that much to the non-Spanish-speaking world, but it could leave major holes in the aggregator’s coverage in, say, Latin America and South America.”
Indeed, in an editorial last week, The Spain Report decried the law and resulting shutdown for exactly this reason: “The world will effectively have less access to the news from Spain next Tuesday, which is perhaps not a bad thing for the Spanish government as the country enters a triple election year.”
It remains to be seen if the AEDE’s sudden about-face will have any effect on Google’s decision. Unless something changes behind the scenes, the Spanish version of Google News is slated to be shut down tomorrow.