Google News withdraws from Spain ahead of new law

(AGI) Rome, Dec 11 - Google is withdrawing its Google Newsservice from Spain ahead of new intellectual property laws.Spanish users will cease to have access to Google News as ofDec. 16, in an unprecedented move ahead of the legislationwhich will take effect on Jan. 1. This will allow Spanishpublications to charge services like Google News if theircontent is published elsewhere. This is likely to be anisolated case for Google News; as head Richard Gingrasexplained, Google News is a service appreciated and utilised bymillions of users. It is free and includes sources

(AGI) Rome, Dec 11 - Google is withdrawing its Google Newsservice from Spain ahead of new intellectual property laws.Spanish users will cease to have access to Google News as ofDec. 16, in an unprecedented move ahead of the legislationwhich will take effect on Jan. 1. This will allow Spanishpublications to charge services like Google News if theircontent is published elsewhere. This is likely to be anisolated case for Google News; as head Richard Gingrasexplained, Google News is a service appreciated and utilised bymillions of users. It is free and includes sources that rangefrom leading daily newspapers around the world to small localpublications and blogs. Publishers can decide whether or not toallow their articles to appear in Google News, and most of themchoose to be included for the very good reason that "GoogleNews creates real value for these publications by drivingpeople to their websites, which in turn helps generateadvertising revenues." Google Italy's Simona Panseri said thenew legislation had forced the closure of Google News in Spainby obliging publishers to seek payment from Google News, evenfor tiny snippets of text, regardless of whether they wanted tobe paid or not. Given that Google News does not carryadvertising and does not generate revenue, the situation wasunsustainable, but the service would continue to collaboratewith Spanish publishers to try and help them build up theirreader bases and increase their online revenue. Luca Bolognini,President of the Italian Institute for Privacy and DataValorisation, agreed with Google's stance, saying the companyhad made a wise decision, although it was a dreadful situationfor the users. However, the legal danger in continuing to grantaccess to Google News in Spain was too great, given that thenew law forbids the right to quote news. European legislationwas obsolete, he said, too analogue-based and not digitalenough, and failed to take account of the crucial role ofsearch engines and aggregators in information pluralism. TheInstitute had been working for years on the delicate linebetween privacy, intellectual property and freedom ofinformation. Now, with Google closing down an extremely usefulservice because of outdated laws, all the Spanish users wouldbe poorer in terms of ideas and news. He hoped it would not bethe first in a long line of closures in other European Unionstates. (AGI).