Google recently announced that it will close its Google News service in Spain as a result of a new Spanish law, saying the Internet had created “tremendous opportunities but also real challenges for publishers as competition both for readers’ attention and for advertising Euros increased”.
“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.”
Article 32.2 of Spain’s new Intellectual Property Act, which will come into effect on January 1, 2015, states that the use of “non significant fragments of content” in news, opinion or entertainment “will not require authorisation, without prejudice to the right of the publisher or, if necessary, the holder of the rights to receive fair compensation”.
Spain is not the first country in which Google News and national newspaper publishers have faced off.
- The German government passed a law obliging Google to pay newspaper publishers if they were included in Google News. Google countered by requiring those German newspapers who wished to be included in their news index to expressly forfeit such compensation.
Hence the Spanish version of the law stating that the right is “inalienable”, meaning that news publishers will not be able to renounce compensation provided for by the law.
“This right is inalienable and will be made effective via intellectual property rights management organisations”, says the amended section of the law, adding that “any image, photographic work or mere photograph” will also be subject to the measures.