Over a month after Spain passed a new copyright law, allowing publishers to charge online news aggregation services for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, Google has announced that it will discontinue its Google News offering in the country.
The search giant has said that it will remove Spanish publishers from Google News, and close the service in Spain on December 16, just days before the new law comes into effect.
"As a result of a new Spanish law, we’ll shortly have to close Google News in Spain," said Richard Gingras, head of Google News, explaining that since the computer-generated news site itself makes no money (the company does not show any advertising on the site), the new approach is not sustainable.
The new Intellectual Property Law, which is popularly referred to by media as "Google tax," makes it mandatory for online aggregator services that post excerpts or even links of news articles to pay a fee to the Association of Editors of Spanish Dailies, a group that represents the country's news industry. Failure in doing so could attract fines up to €600,000 ($750,000).
Google had expressed its disappointment with the new law, saying that the company thinks that services like Google News help publishers to draw traffic to their websites.
A similar law was passed by Germany, too, following which Google removed newspapers from Google News, something which resulted in a significant drop in traffic to local news websites, forcing publishers to reach an agreement with the search giant.