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Google News To Close In Spain

     
12:01 pm on Dec 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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This is both interesting and sad. It's interesting to see how it's all going to pan out in the end. Will the consumer lose out? I believe so. Will the publications lose out, again, I believe so.
How will it influence other countries with similar outlooks towards Google News?


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.Google News To Close In Spain [googlepolicyeurope.blogspot.com]


Link to Spanish Law PDF [boe.es...]
12:39 pm on Dec 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Consumers and smaller publications lose out, major publications gain. Why? Because the people not using Google news will mostly go direct to big websites instead. That is precisely that those behind the law wanted.
3:23 pm on Dec 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Saw that coming.
5:13 pm on Dec 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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It will also affect other news aggregators including Yahoo News.

Important to note, but it doesn't stop there.

Authorities will have the power to fine websites up to €600,000 ($748,000) for linking to pirated content.

Source: [theguardian.com...]

Fining webmasters for using hyperlinks now?

"I read the news today, oh boy..."

...
5:41 pm on Dec 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Yes, this is indeed a stupid move by the lawmakers. It takes apart the concept of "the web."

Users will lose out, as well as publishers, especially the smaller ones.

Germany was the most recent country to try and resolve the issue over Google News, and look where that ended. German Publishers Back Down Over Google Snippet Removals [webmasterworld.com]
7:06 pm on Dec 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I wonder how many Spaniards will simply look at Google News editions from other Spanish-speaking countries? (That won't satisfy their desire for local news, but for international news, it could work just fine.)
7:35 pm on Dec 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I'm Saw that coming....
7:36 pm on Dec 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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If we are talking a company with a monopoly, that would be Google. People who currently use Google News as their "go to" news source will make other choices now. Now if a whole business is built around getting traffic from Google, that is weak anyway.
7:46 pm on Dec 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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If we are talking a company with a monopoly

We are not.

We are talking any news aggregator in Spain and any webmaster who links to them.

...
9:43 pm on Dec 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Good for Google. Honestly, the large publications are going to lose as well. I'm sure Google is sending them a crap load of traffic as well.

When Google made similar changes when German publishers tried to extort them, it didn't take long for those publishers to change their tune and ask to start having their snippets and images shown again. Personally, I think Google was too easy on the German publishers. Google should have told them, "We will start showing your snippets and images in our SERPs again, but you [the publisher] will need to pay us [Google] a CPM each time we show one of your URLs and a CPC each time someone clicks through."

I think Google is totally justified in what they are doing. Unfortunately, short of repealing the law, those publishers won't have a way to get back into the SERPs once the changes are made.

Seems this law could potentially affect tons of other sites...

For example, what happens when users share URLs for those publishers on Facebook? Facebook typically shows the story title, a snippet, and an image from the publisher site. Is Facebook now responsible for paying these publishers if they do not stop showing titles, snippets, and images when Spanish publications are shared?

Doesn't seem very well though out. Like the old saying, be careful what you ask for.
10:04 pm on Dec 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Is Google going to actually obey a law? They must have an ulterior motive.
10:27 pm on Dec 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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We are talking any news aggregator in Spain and any webmaster who links to them.

Links to who? The newspaper(s) or the aggregator(s)?
10:32 pm on Dec 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Is Google going to actually obey a law?

No, they are going to discontinue a service instead.

They must have an ulterior motive.

Google's motive is profit, same as any other business.

...
10:44 pm on Dec 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Links to who? The newspaper(s) or the aggregator(s)?

The quote I posted said "linking to pirated content".

In context, that seems to mean unauthorised snippets from Spanish news publishers.

Someone who can read legalese in Spanish might clarify.

...
1:02 am on Dec 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Is Google going to actually obey a law?


Yes... My understanding is that law says that if they display any portion of an article from the Spanish publishers as a snippet, title, or otherwise... then they have to pay the publishers a fee (I'm guessing this is probably as much about the Spanish government generating tax revenue as it is about the publishers themselves generating revenue).

By refusing to show anything in Google News from publishers where Google would be required to pay, Google is in compliance (i.e. obeying) the law.

The law in the US says that if you earn money, you have to pay taxes. Saying Google is not obeying the law is like saying people who do not earn any money are breaking the law because they are not paying taxes.
1:11 am on Dec 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Is Google going to actually obey a law?


No, they are going to discontinue a service instead.


Actually, Google is obeying the law.

Google would be disobeying the law only if it continued linking to Spanish publishers without paying for the privilege of doing so.
5:41 am on Dec 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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With a little researching out there, you'll find that most of the traffic to news sites from goog occur from organic SERPS...where they do display ads and make money.
6:47 am on Dec 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Hmm. I see a lot of huge opportunities here for neighbouring countries. How about setting up a Spanish-language online newspaper over the border in Gibraltar? Andorra? I'm thinking similar to Google's presence in Hong Kong for their mainland market.

This type of media censorship is highly worrying but we've been seeing this kind of stuff happen across various EU member states in different forms. What's next? EU-wide legislation? Oh wait... [webmasterworld.com ]
4:35 pm on Dec 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Actually, Google is obeying the law.


Google has routinely ignored copyright laws in numerous jurisdictions ever since it's inception. Perhaps it's obeying this one because it has teeth, perhaps it wishes to teach a lesson to publishers - and governments - in other countries which may "step out of line".

Remember that they have already stated publically that laws should not restrict the progress of technology companies.
5:51 pm on Dec 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Yahoo declined to comment Thursday on its plans for Yahoo News in Spain next year when the new linking fees begin.

Source: [news.yahoo.com...]

Apparently the law does not say how much money has to be paid (only that the publishers must charge aggregators), so there might be scope for a "one dollar a year" peppercorn fee or similar.

But I doubt that any search engine would concede the principle.

And I don't blame them.

...
6:46 pm on Dec 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I know this might be a little bit off-topic, but it looks like some other laws were passed during the same session of parliament which puts Spain firmly on a direction back towards its days under Generalísimo Franco. Spanish Parliament Approves Controversial Security Law [telesurtv.net] <-- I'm surprised this hasn't been covered by the media in the Anglosphere.

  • No longer allowed to share (link to) news articles, political or not.
  • No longer allowed to photograph police.
  • No longer allowed to protest at all unless the government agrees.
  • No longer allowed to protest outside of any meaningful government institutions.
  • No longer allowed to question police, as it could be considered "lack of respect", which is vague in itself.
  • Must present identification when requested by police, regardless of whether there is any reasonable suspicion of having committed a crime or not.


I believe the title of this thread is but the tip of the iceberg of what just happened and is happening in Spain.
9:12 am on Dec 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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"Any action considered a “lack of respect” toward authorities can also be sanctioned under the new legislation."

Does anyone have respect for the authorities who pass legislation like that. Very scary stuff, but given what I see elsewhere, I think will fix what you said slightly

I believe the title of this thread is but the tip of the iceberg of what just happened and is happening in the World.
9:19 am on Dec 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@Samizdata, even if search engines did it, it may disadvantage smaller publishers because of the need to be manually added, some payment to be made etc. That still achieves a lot of what the law's backers wanted.
12:03 pm on Dec 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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It appears there's a great debate going on in Spain over this, especially amongst those with vested interests: Newspaper publishers and smaller Internet businesses, and recent posts show that there is now concern by these groups.

This is exactly the movement Google must have expected would happen: Significant concern from those parties with most to lose.
“Given the dominant position of Google (which in Spain controls almost all of the searches in the market and is an authentic gateway to the Internet), AEDE requires the intervention of Spanish and community authorities, and competition authorities, to effectively protect the rights of citizens and companies”.Spanish Newspaper Publishers’ Association Now Asks Government To Help Stop Google News Closure [thespainreport.com]
12:42 pm on Dec 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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it wants the Spanish government and European competition authorities to intervene to stop Google shutting down the service

So they want to force a company to provide a free service to other businesses, while simultaneously forcing that company to pay those same other businesses for doing so.

What's the Spanish for "cake and eat it"?

...
4:56 pm on Dec 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The Spanish newspapers may have shot themselves in both feet:

[forbes.com...]
 

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