Google News faces the axe in Spain in wake of a new law

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Google has decided to kill off its Google News offering in Spain rather than to pay local publishers for using their content.

The search engine giant announced in a blog post on Wednesday that it will disable its news offering in Spain on December 16 in wake of a new Spanish copyright law takes effect in January. The new law requires the company to pay licensing revenues to Spanish publishers if their use or display their content in Google News, even if it is only a snippet.

The so-called “Google Tax” law passed in early November mandate news publishers to charge Google and companies like it a fee when their content is displayed in search results, even if the publication is not in favor of charging the fee. Failure to do so could result in fines up to €600,000 ($750,000).

The plan, however, backfired as Google said it would be sustainable for it to shut down the service as it makes no money from it. As part of the closedown, the search engine giant will shutter the Google News service in Spain and remove all Spanish publishers from its international versions.

“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,” noted Richard Gingras, head of Google News in a blog post on Wednesday.

The four year old new service is currently available in more than 70 global editions and in 35 different languages.