Most newspapers were slow to get the hang of the Internet, and Spanish ones more than most, it appears. After successfully lobbying for a law which would force Google to pay them every time it quoted even the smallest excerpt of a story in its Google News search results, Google responded by closing the service in Spain.
Belatedly realising they will now be missing out on all the traffic Google used to drive to their websites, the Spanish newspaper publishers’ association AEDE is asking the government to force Google to re-open the service, reports The Spain Report …
Google explained its decision last week, saying that the new law left it no option but to withdraw from the country.
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.
AEDE now appears to have realized the implications.
[This] will undoubtedly have a negative impact on citizens and Spanish businesses.
Given the dominant position of Google (which in Spain controls almost all of the searches in the market and is an authentic gateway to the Internet), AEDE requires the intervention of Spanish and community authorities, and competition authorities, to effectively protect the rights of citizens and companies.
AEDE is not, however, proposing that the law it campaigned for be changed: it expects Google to re-open the service and still pay for linking to them. It is unclear what powers it believes the Spanish government might have to oblige Google to re-open a service it has decided to close. You couldn’t make it up …
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