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Pay spat sees Google axe Spain news

Google has followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a law requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

The company's Spanish Google News page, normally full of aggregated news content, vanished and was replaced by a message from the company.

It said Google was "incredibly sad" to announce the closure plus a lockout of Spanish publishers from more than 70 other Google News sites around the world.

Spain's law takes effect on January 1 and Google said it was not worth considering paying the publishers for linking their content because its popular news aggregator makes no money.

The law, nicknamed the Google Tax, was pushed through by Spain's AEDE association representing large news organisations.

People who use Google's standard search in Spain and anywhere else around the world will still be able to find articles on their own from Spanish publications, because the law applies only to aggregators and not to individuals who do their own searches.

But the lost access to Google News is likely to make it more difficult for people to keep abreast of what it is happening in Spain because they will have to know what to look for instead of having the top stories sorted for them.

A search of the Google News page in the United States for news from Spain's leading newspaper El Pais showed only a direct link to El Pais and links to older stories. But the same search for Spain's number two newspaper El Mundo turned up results for stories produced more recently.


From Belfast Telegraph