Google News To Exclude All Content from Spain

For the first time in its history, Google has announced that it will shut down Google News for an entire nation -- Spain -- and remove all Spanish publications from its index of news reports. The changes, blamed on changes to Spain's copyright law, will take effect Tuesday.

The issue, according to a post on Google's Europe Blog by Richard Gingras, senior director of news and social products, is recent legislation enacted by the Spanish government that will require news aggregators like Google to pay a fee to publishers for use of headlines and story snippets that then link to the publishers' Web sites. The new law, set to go into effect Jan. 1, covers all types of publications, including bloggers, national newspapers and local news outlets. Publications would be required to charge companies like Google even if they opposed the fees.

Jumping the Gun?

Google News currently maintains 70 international editions covering 35 languages. The free service allows users to browse stories from a vast number of publications across the globe. Publishers can choose whether or not they want their articles to appear on the Google News page.

"It's a service that hundreds of millions of users love and trust, including many here in Spain," Gingras said. "Google news creates real value for these publications by driving people to their Web sites, which in turn helps generate advertising revenues."

The modifications to the country's intellectual property laws were written and enacted by Spain's center-right Popular Party, and approved in October. The law was passed over the unanimous opposition of Spain's other political parties. The Spanish government has still not determined the formula for determining how much news aggregators will have to pay publishers for using their headlines and linking to their content.

José Ignacio Wert, Spain's minister of education, culture and...

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