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Google News to shut down in Spain (googlepolicyeurope.blogspot.com)
369 points by apsec112 on Dec 11, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 259 comments

I wrote a bit about this in July, when the law was passed, if you want an opinion from a Spaniard: http://cfenollosa.com/blog/spanish-media-just-shot-themselve...

  Let's summarize what is happening here:

  Big media editors AEDE, most of which pro-government, in collusion with the 
  corrupt Spanish politicians have managed a masterstroke which they think will:

  1. Get them free money
  2. Destroy the discoverability of smaller media competitors, usually critical 
  with the government
  3. Hinder the future of Spanish internet tech business, their main competitor
  4. Get more exposure, since readers won't have access to media agreggation and 
  will resort to reading just one or two outlets

  In reality, what is likely to happen is:

  1. Google will close Google News Spain, no big problem
  2. Spanish media aggregators will move their business abroad and won't 
  contribute taxes to the country
  3. Tech enterpreneurs will realize that Spain is a shitty country to invest money on
  4. Without Google, the aggregators, and thanks to the increasing 
  user boycott to AEDE media, those editors will lose traffic and money.

According to the article:

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.

This sounds as though it won't matter if Spanish news aggregators move abroad, because the law applies to the Spanish news sources themselves, not the aggregator. Unless I'm misunderstanding (and maybe I am, so correct me), if a news publisher inside Spain doesn't demand payment from an aggregator located outside Spain, the publisher in Spain gets punished by the Spanish law.

This approach would be a nasty way to do as you said: limit the ability of smaller, alternative news sources, to attract readers. Unless they left Spain, they would not be allowed to volunteer their content to any free aggregator anywhere, and if they DID leave Spain, they would lose the ability to report on local Spanish issues.

That is exactly the market opportunity I'm seeing here: news sites for Spanish news that are based outside Spain. Reporting on issues abroad is still possible, and they may even be able to hire freelancers based in Spain.

Or to put it another way: with no way to find Spanish news sites online, Spaniards would become entirely dependent on foreign news sites, which creates an incentive for foreign sites to focus more on Spanish news in Spanish.

Indeed, a very interesting development and I already see the government back paddling in a few years time. Imagine a large part of the Spanish receiving the bulk of their news from Mexican news outlets - the Spanish nationalists will go furious. It'll be a very ironic watershed moment.

Lets take in mind that some big newspapers in Spain are buyed from the banks. Same big companies can have a newspaper in Spain and another in Mexico, Colombia and Argentina. Is not so inusual.

And yes, as spaniard this is another shit from our beloved government that basically is butchering the whole entire country and giving all, blood flesh and bones, to carefully nurture his friends and family. A small and really happy minory. Everyday is his/her birthday.

The main media in Spain will start hosting sites abroad to bypass this law. This law is basically a way to hinder smaller media more than collecting money from Google, and in this respect I guess it will work.

I dunno. How hard is it to host a site abroad?

I know very little about Spain situation, but even then I'd guess that it's easier than hosting it in Spain. Smaller media can certainly do that.

I am pretty sure it is not about where you host, but where your company sits. And courts won't only look at where you are incorporated, but will look where they think the executive descisions are done.

It's always the small fish who suffer the most from socialist policies. Only large organisations can justify the resources to out-maneuever punitive legislation.

It's a shame that this irony isn't more widely understood.

While I have no opinion either way on your post, I felt that I should point out that Spain's government is not socialist.

The party in power (Partido Popular) is on the right of Spanish politics, and sits with the right wing EPP group in the European Parliament.

For what it's worth, while the US tends to think of Europe as being socialist, I can't think of any EU countries with socialist governments except Austria and Denmark.

That Partido Popular brands itself as right doesn’t necessarily make it so. This policy does show the typically socialist “let’s regulate everything and remove choice” approach.

> I can't think of any EU countries with socialist governments except Austria and Denmark.

Off the top of my head, France, Czech Republic or Slovakia. And the _previous_ Czech government was a prime example of a left-leaning gov. in anything but name.

> socialist policies

That's the funny thing about this. PP is a right-wing conservative ultra-catholic neolibertarian mixture. Not a trace of socialism...

This is simply crony capitalism.

I think it is understood pretty well by those large organizations, and also the politicians that they are in cahoots with.

The current spanish government is hardly socialist

This has nothing to do with socialism.

Creating products for your own country while basing your company abroad seems likely to become a big trend among startups, as tech collides with archaic government regulators. It's already happening in many areas.

Who knew the internet would herald a new era of pirate radio?

I guess, the law may also be in conflict with EU law/rulings/contracts. Aggregator companies outside Spain have an advantage over those within the spanish jurisdiction. So those spanish companies can call the European Court to fight the spanish law.

Unfortunately the law does not work in this direction: It is perfectly fine under EU law if Spain treats its own companies worse than Non-Spain EU companies. Lacking a cross-border element, the EU freedoms (Freedom of services/establishment) don't apply, and I think it would be hard to classify the Spanish law as an export ban.

However the Spanish rules might constitute a restriction of competition under EU law, but since the political climate is a bit anti-Google right now, maybe it won't be investigated too closely.

Exactly. And you can even move to a contry where they don't have legal agreements with the EU so that you can't get sued for doing something which is legal in your (new) country

Sounds like compulsory licencing. Is a pricing schedule spelled out, demanding a minimum charge? Cannot these small shops simply charge Google a token, blanket licence for all their content for, say, $1 and side-step these legislative shenanigans?

Please someone print this and staple it on the forehead of every single person behind this non-sense.

and how soon before EU wide legislation like this makes it was through the halls in Brussels?

Things are going very badly for a global internet if we are discussing a web site "shutting down in spain".

Of course we all know what that means and it seems very sensible in 2014, but remember - if someone had told you in 1998 that a certain website would not be operating in country X, you would have laughed and explained to them (like a child) that the Internet was a single global network and that if one had Internet access at all they would have access to the site in question.

All of that simplicity and innocence has slipped away.

You've misinterpreted the story as, "Google News won't be accessible to browsers in Spain."

The actual story is, "The 'Spain' version of Google News won't be accessible to anyone."

What if I post a Spanish story to HN (or Reddit) and use the title of the article as the submission title?

Will the company hosting the site have to pay up?

My reading of the analysis floating around is that, been strict with the current text, yes. Both HN and Reddit are covered by the broad definition of the service this law will apply to. Twitter and Facebook could be on the bag too depending on interpretation. The law doesn't seem to consider if the source of the link is human or automatic.

For that very reason many are worried about Menéame fate, a very popular Reddit-like site here in Spain.

I think this is a good overview in English: https://medium.com/@JulioAlonso/the-story-of-spains-google-t...

NO, because neither Reddit nor HN operate in Spain, and therefore are not subject to Spannish law.

Well, if Spain is going to behave like the USA Reddit and HN founders could end up being the subjects of another Richard O'Dwyer case http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_O%27Dwyer

Basically it ended with a fine (which seems absurd to me) but that UK guy had to fight for 18 months against a request of extradition to the USA for having created a web site in the UK which (I quote Wikipedia) "did not host any infringing media, but American authorities say it contained indexed links to media hosted on other sites, and defined it as a "linking" website". This looks like Reddit and HN to me.

Even if your country doesn't comply with the request it's not possible to shrug it away unless an agreement is reached, or you have to be careful never to step into a country with extradition agreements with the one that is trying to get you. That is a severe limitation to personal freedom.

Everything falls apart if we start applying everybody's laws to everybody in every country of the world. I'm pretty sure I violated some laws of some countries writing this.

That's not so clear. I don't know the in an outs of this specific law, but for example a gambling site has to comply with Spanish law if it serves to spaniards. No matter where it's legally located. That's why most gambling .coms geo blacklist spanish or redirect them to the spanish law compliant version of their service.

Same with consumer laws, those apply if I buy a product in other country. For example Spanish law says I can get a refund 7 days after the purchase, no reason required.

Yea, doesn't make sense and probably they can't enforce many of these, but that's how they are redacted. I would set the legal team on alert mode if I were Reddit/Twitter/Facebook/Menéame.

The gambling thing is a bit different, normally it's the sites that cooperate like that so that they have a chance to be able to become a licensed provider in that country in the future. It's a strange trend in that industry that also goes counter to various trade agreements, but that's just how it goes. That said countries can also take action locally against foreign entities they believe are breaking their local laws, and go after their local assets, e.g. they could seize their .es domain names or take action against any local office or other assets that they have.

I wouldn't bet on it.

Maybe you are not aware of the new EU VAT on digital downloads, which is taxed in the country of purchase, not country of sale.


The way discussion on taxation is going globally I wouldn't be surprised if more legislation heads this way, or at the very least a presence test is applied to see if the company has a physical office in country.

Our lawyers tell us that our company might be considered to "operate" in Spain just because some users are in Spain.

You do not know the greed and megalomania of these associations which "collect" the money of copyright in Spain.

And if you are a teacher in the university writing a resume for your students they want you to pay for the right to cite previous work for other poets/scientifics/philosophers in the photocopies that you are giving to them.

Yep. As silly as is.

It affects sites like Meneame

And also the Universities... All of them.

And I think Google won't be the only one to retreat here. Facebook have a lot of new aggregation related features, I don't think they will choose to comply. Twitter will also be subjected to this, it is interesting to see now a simple retweet might be in fringe of breaking the law.

How come they are accepting if their page shows up in the first page of Google Search results for the search keyword?

no Spanish publishers will not be in either google news or have any news content featured the main google serps

This case is less "Google News is not accessible to people in Spain" and more "Google News can no longer publish content originated in Spain." The effect may be similar because Spaniards often want Spanish content, but what's happening seems different to your characterization.

Well, they are not just removing all Spanish news sources from the Spanish Google news site, they are removing the Spanish Google news site, which seems pretty consistent with his characterization.

Spanish people can, of course, still visit any other country's Google News page, though. There is no reason to keep a single country's Google News page open if there are no news sources from that country.

It's similar to the Google China situation back in the day, except Spain won't block access to foreign versions of Google News.

Effectively, no Spanish-Spain news in Google news. I wonder if other Spanish-speaking versions of Google News will still link to major Spanish newspapers that are also popular in South America. I'd expect so. Many Spanish sources will actively try to get into Google News from other countries so they can bypass this levy and prevent the loss of traffic/relevance somewhat.

This is remarkable, as we could conclude that Google News can't or don't want to create content on their own, but only copy from other sources.

It's remarkable that someone today tries to insult Google by claiming they aren't creating content. EVERYONE knows this. People use Google because they are great at organization information, not making it.

There's a difference between Google Search and Google News.

It is already an achievement to write the headlines of the news and to rank the importance of a piece of news. I consider this and all the editorial also as content.

With Google Search, Google does the ranking etc. and provides a substantial own service on demand to a specific search. People always go to the original site if it fits their search request. All good here. But with Google News they just copy the headlines and parts of the articles. They present it, kind of republish it in opposite to creating a search service.

Personally, I'm a bit pissed by the Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc. because of their sneaky busines concepts. So my post is hostile (which it shouldn't be, but happens ...), but not insulting towards Google.

This is like being angry at a public library because it didn't write any of the books it contains.

It's more like being angry at the indexing system in the library. Damn you Dewey Decimal System!

Of course they don't want to create their own content. They're a search company! Their entire business is aggregating and linking to other sources.

I think in this case it's a blurred line. In the case of Youtube even more. True, they don't want to create their own content, but when they republish it and making money by doing so, we're in the middle of the copyright discussion. The question to answer in each of Googles (or others) businesses is, when is Google presenting it's own work (search results, etc.) or the work of others.

There's also always robots.txt, if you don't want your contents indexed.

Google is generally useful to the sites they link to. Most sites want a high rank on Google, because that brings them more visitors and more advertiser revenue, and Google offers them that service at no cost.

If they don't want Google to link to them, they can control that through robots.txt.

You may remember a recent German law that allowed German news sites to charge money for this, and Google removed links to news sites that didn't want to be listed for free. Pretty soon, all sites allowed Google to link to them again, because the loss of traffic hurt them.

Basically this amounts to the question: should search engines and aggregators be allowed to exist at all? Should we go back to the pre search engine days when you could only find new sites when someone discussed it on usenet, or through web rings (a network of sites about a similar subject where each links to the next one)?

See, this is what I don't really get. Sure, they can make money by selling ads on the content they're indexing (which is the primary reason their ranking system has to stay egalitarian, or roughly so with a few exceptions), but publishers are by no means obligated to purchase display ads from Google, or to host using Google's platforms (Youtube, Blogger, etc). Imho, it's only a blurred line iff a publisher chooses to make it so.

So, what are you insinuating exactly? That Google should stay away from providing any sort of news completely unless they are willing to build a team of journalists? What's wrong with aggregation?

and all newspapers make heavy use of agency stories especially the free sheets.

The way I read it, Google didn't say they were blocking IP addresses from Spain, so users in Spain will still be able to access news.google.com, the change is that Google is forced to no longer aggregate news content from Spanish media sites due to the law forcing said media to charge Google for aggregating their content. And Google is taking down their Google News Spain site which specifically aggregates Spanish news.

In other words, it's a completely orthogonal concern to what you are talking about.

Completely agree with the sad trend. Though to be fair, the scourge of geolocation based blocking started with media companies (mostly American, but also bbc and others) in a bid to recreate the DVD region encoding bullshit on the internet. Add to that the NSA merrily slurping up data from the global firehose... there's no innocence left to corrupt at this point.

There are two sides to the scourge. WRT the BBC, they produce quality content, partly funded by us Brits and partly funded by exporting the content to other countries.

With the internet they have limited choices:

* Keep things off the internet and disappoint everyone

* Put things on the global internet and lose export value

* Put things on the internet but geolocate to the UK and retain export value

Clearly for them, the quality of their shows, and for the British public, the last option is the best.

It's a strange system because the BBC is considered public broadcasting but is still funded (i.e. paid) by us citizens. You have to take the UK only as a subscription that we have implicitly paid. Of course, it would be great if they offered an outsider subscription, but there are undoubtedly internal political reasons why they haven't.

So your dilemma could be a false dichotomy if (and I realize it's a big if):

* BBC puts things on the global internet

* Global users can discover it more readily

* BBC becomes well-known as a provider of quality content

* Demand for BBC content increases because of the online content already available

* BBC can charge more for future content (which it can export first to high-profit-margin channels, then publish online later)

For sure.

Point 3, I think they already have covered. I think it's pretty safe to say that the BBC is a well known and established brand, and also a producer of high quality content.

The best way to look at it now is that they're stuck in a local maxima, they could definitely gain by broadcasting online to the world but it might take some time and will most definitely hit them financially in the short run.

There's also a political aspect wrt the BBC too. They are, as per their mandate, completely politically neutral†. But generally the left side of politics supports continuing the license fee we pay where the right side doesn't. If they should suddenly take a significant drop in revenue and it subsequently does affect what they produce then it also puts them at risk. And the last thing us Brits want to see is our BBC channels filling up with adverts.

Now is an interesting time. For a long time they were a plain old tv broadcaster. Now they're on the internet and broadcasting things there there are people questioning whether they should even be doing that. Eventually I think things will stabilize into some condition, I don't know what but I don't think we are there yet.

† of course, with politics, there are many debates about this

This is a business decision. BBC executives have already (probably) thought about whether they want to charge now or make it free now (and charge later). Its the age old question every company and startup faces -- shall I increase my reputation now and charge later or should I charge now. As its been already pointed out, BBC already has a great reputation.

Different business models result in different pricing decisions. Maybe BBC has determined that keeping things free globally is just not smart business sense for it because of real revenue foregone.

I believe that BBC sells a lot of its programs to channels around the world. I also believe it also markets various DVDs of its programs. BBC entertainment is also available as a paid channel in many countries. If it made these programs free on the web globally that business might be in doubt.

BBC is currently in a binary model which is to be free in UK and then sell its programs globally. The unintended consequence of that it ends up denying global internet users its programs.

What would be best, I believe, would be to provide all choices. For people who are willing to pay outside the UK -- bring them into a subscriber model of some sort. This way BBC can continue selling its programs to companies/channels/customers around the world and let internet users watch BBC programs, for a small cost.

Who knows? BBC might actually be working on subscriber pays model on the internet. Here other considerations come into play: bureaucratic sloth in an organization as big as the BBC and the time it takes to role out a subscription oriented video website.

BBC iPlayer publishes online immediately. Making that globally available would definitely impact ability to sell.

An alternative would be allowing people to log in with a TV license number.

BBC iPlayer Global is already available worldwide via a subscription. It started several years ago.


I think that would be a very good alternative, some overseas viewers would likely buy a license just for this

Doubtful. Even if we were to offer the domestic rate, it currently works out $19/month. Incidentally one of the best things about iPlayer is that it's frictionless, high quality and ad-free. Introducing TV license login would be a huge bummer.

I don't think logging in is particularly onerous and don't see why it would introduce adverts, more likely to prevent their introduction in fact.

The BBC was already widely known as a producer of quality content before the internet became widely known.

And in any case, the public funding argument never hindered the excellent BBC worldwide radio service.

Its a combination of profit and political influence which is what makes BBC and interesting animal. The BBC world service radio gets Britain a lot of global coverage and political mindspace. Showing sherlock homes free?? Maybe not.

Funded by the FO to promote British interests

It's under assault, though.

> Put things on the global internet and lose export value

If they don't feel like sharing, we can find other sources that will, there's no lack of quality content.

It's a pity that BBC sits on a million hours of TV and radio archived shows, that are collecting dust instead of being cited, posted, commented on, tagged, submitted, etc. Their loss. The web keeps growing and the BBC archives are offline. It's a kind of 'Encyclopedia Brittanica thinking' in an age of Wikipedia - trying to monetize at the expense of global accessibility.

Just to be clear, Google is subject to this law because Google operates and has offices in Spain.

It seems reasonable that Google should comply with the laws of where they do business.

But the law itself does not seem reasonable. It's a violation of fair use.

Lest we forget, Google News links to the articles themselves. It provides a service to news organisations, for—as far as I'm aware—free.

Fair use is an american thing. Spain cannot violate US copyright law

Not exactly; the concept of fair use exists in the Berne convention, it's not just an American thing. Unfortunately, the convention only allows countries to establish fair use, it doesn't mandate it.

> It's a violation of fair use.

welcome to the EU.

just to warn you, you might find yourself laughing at their patent law, should you read it and applicable case laws

Case law in EU? Only within the former empire, and significant parts of that pretend to be on the way out.

there's been a few patent rulings that are [pretty wtf] contradictory to what the written law states

I follow US patent law and cases quite a bit, but not so much the EU. Could you provide a few examples?

try "criticism of EU patent law"

I can't find the original article. It was pretty silly, around 2008 or 2009, the court ruled something basically opposite to the written intent.

I think it had to do with a really low barrier to prior-art-baseed-invalidation, but that might have been another weakness

The other difference is that common law cares for the written intent, while under civil law judges should seek the underlying intent - which can be opposite to what is written down.

One recurring examples I've seen in German law training (but IANAL): two parties agree on the sale of a certain type of fish but use the wrong (Norwegian?) word in the contract. What fish is this contract about? Correct answer: What they meant, not what they wrote down.

This might (or might not) be different in common law - but obviously still isn't an issue unless one party brings the contract in front of a judge.

As for articles about legal cases: Highly popular cases typically make more sense when you dig into the details (eg. reading the actual decision, not just what some journalist misunderstood the court's abstract to be about). Sometimes they remain puzzling - but I fear that's a feature of all legal systems.

And then there's the additional complication that patent cases seem to run under ever-so-slightly different rules to ordinary civil cases, no matter where.

Europe has a stronger copyright which has actually proven a bit more sane than our software patent woes; both granting more protection than copyright but less than an algorithm patent.

Uh ? Fair use is (part of) a law. Laws are not subject to fair use. You are subject to laws, and yes, this changes some aspects of the legal concept that is called fair use (quotation rights), and that simply changes fair use.

Quoting Spanish news sources should no longer be considered fair use inside of Spain.

The doctrine of fair dealing, which is similar but more restrictive than fair use, exists in several Commonwealth countries: Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are the ones I know of.

> Laws are not subject to fair use.

Laws can be subject to other laws (and judicial review). But yeah, fair use is an American Thing.

And they are. But will this have the effects the legislators tried to impose. This doesn't get google, it hurts Spain.

I hate to break it to you, but Google are not the only game in town. There are plenty of news aggregators (that generate revenue e.g., from advertising), and plenty of places that would be only too happy to step in and be the news-site-of-choice for the customers Google is leaving. Google departing the market will not "hurt Spain" in any meaningful way.

Of course, there are famous Spanish news aggregators like Menéame, which unlike Google can't abandon the boat and are already considering closing the website or banning any local news source. The "tax" imposed by this law is too big for making any aggregator profitable, and like other similar Spanish "taxes" managed by private entities, the law is so ambigous that you can't even expect to be fined nly once.

> There are plenty of news aggregators (that generate revenue e.g., from advertising), and plenty of places that would be only too happy to step in and be the news-site-of-choice for the customers Google is leaving.

The consensus in Spain is that this law is very bad for ALL of the aggregators

Isn't it reasonable that Google decides to stop operations if it doesn't make business sense?

Right, and they are not going to be doing business in Spain.

What? Where did you get that. Google news is shutting down. Google is not, and I've heard of no plans to close their Madrid office.

I think you have misinterpreted the news. It's not Google News is shutting down in Spain. It's just Google can't no longer link to news stories in Spanish news publishers without paying. Google News can still run fine in Spain, just without the local stories. Presumably global news or Spanish news from other sources can still be viewed in Google News if Google chose not to shut it down.

I am not sure about that. Were any of the AOL sites available in Russia or Japan in 1998? Also didn't compuserve do the same and block their services from non paying users (which means if your country's credit card is not accepted you are SOL)?

I am under the impression that walled gardens and splitting by countries or networks were also pretty common.

Chances are, people in spain can still go to news.google.com, but news.google.es won't have any content.

I'm not sure how this totally nonsensical and erroneous reading of the post and subsequent comments have hijacked this thread, so at the risk of being patronizing allow me to explain this as simply as I can:

Spain passed a law that "forces" news publishers to collect a levy from online news aggregators.

Online news aggregators will be fined if they aren't paying the copyright levy (yeah it's that ridiculous).

Nor publishers or aggregators can optout of this arrangement.

Google is stopping the Google News aggregation in Spain. They are NOT GEO-BLOCKING IT.



As we all know, Google's reaction isn't the result the people pushing for the law intended. Do you think they will just give up? They've already gone through several rounds in several countries on this issue, so I don't. Considering that past experience, I'd say there's a substantial chance the law will be amended to be stricter and more far-reaching and/or it will be interpreted that way by the courts.

Do you have any info on why Spain passed that law, such as white papers proposing the law or debates given in their version of parliament? Was it specifically to force companies like Google to shut down, or was that an unintended side effect?

It's common for businesses in a supply chain to each pay a proportion of sales tax (e.g. GST in Australia, and in NZ), so it doesn't seem all that ridiculous for a country to do the same with a "copyright levy" in the media/search industry.

so, what about hacker news, reddit, etc?

It is a long long time ago when Google could be considered innocent (acting ethically). Actually, they're acting the opposite way for ages by ignoring copyright, privacy and by manipulating.

Generally I agree, however. The ethic mostly seems to be gone. And it has to be taken care of by enforcing copyright and privacy protection laws. I had my wake-up moment when Facebook started copying whole Wikipedia articles instead of linking.

Wikipedia content is CC licensed, it's perfectly legal to copy their articles.

"the worse the better", I am happy about this.

Articles about this have been going around Spanish news aggregators for a while. Now that there's an official statement from Google, message will finally go around the world showing what kind of stupid laws the Spanish government is passing around with the influence of the powerful copyright lobbies.

Now, about the recent Spanish Intellectual Property reform. The particular reform affecting Google is actually called the AEDE tax. This reform will affect any news aggregator operating in Spain.

AEDE stands for Asociación de Editores de Diarios Españoles, as in Spanish Association of Newspaper Editors. This private association, together with another one called CEDRO, will take care of collecting this tax. Even if your publication is not associated with AEDE and because this reform is law, they will have the obligation to collect it.

This reform smells exactly the same as an old anti-piracy law. Just change AEDE for SGAE (another association, related to authors and editors). For a while, any kind of media support was subject to this tax. Any media support, including hard drives and even cameras, on the pretense that these might be used to store content subject to IP. This law was derogated on 2011, but not completely. Now it's the state the one who pays this tax to SGAE. I can see this AEDE tax having poor results, and either the public or the state ending up having to pay for it.

Funnily enough, this just shows how weird and different some people think. This tax is proposing that news aggregators cause loss damage to news producers just as torrent aggregators cause damages to Warner. Note that this IP reform also includes fines of around 150k to 600k euros for running a site that links to copyrighted material. Before, it was only an infraction if a site was causing "significant damages". This has been eliminated, as in, any damage is a significant damage.

Just as a remark, let's not confuse this with the so-called "Google Tax", which is related to stopping Google and other big co's from evading taxes in Europe and has nothing to do with intellectual property. To be fair, I do not even know by now, as they call "Google tax" anything that is going to affect Google, nevermind.

Similar (not to that extreme) just happened in Germany during the last 12-24 months.

The conservative party massively expanded the copyright of publishers (German legislation: Leistungsschutzrecht - English http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancillary_copyright_for_press_p... ) and some of the larger publishers then started to demand payments from Google for including snippets in its news services. Google reacted by removing all those publishers from their news indexes and services.

Somewhere down the line even the dumbest of those publishers must have realised (they've been receiving 80%+ of their traffic via Google) that the laws pushed through by their sock puppets in Berlin did not give them the additional extra risk free payments they had expected (for the work of others - in this case Google). Hint to the publishers: Understand how the (distribution) medium works before you write yourself some dreamy business plans.

To my know by now almost all of those publishers have paddled back and have given Google free licenses so that they again will be included in the index - Question: Will they provided the same free licenses to other search engines or web sites? - looks like this should be another example for an overall review of the legality of these publisher friendly regulation vs fair use & censorship. It will then be another change of legislation pushed through for "special interest groups" by the current government and it's last 2 predecessors that has been declared unconstitutional.

The latest step in this play was the EU Parliament vote on breaking up Google (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/nov/27/european-p...) - I wonder who paid for that vote.

So it seems the problem with the German law was that they created a basic prisoner's dilemma kind of situation. Publishers who tried to get some compensation from Google for appropriating the fruits of their labor were thwarted by defection from those who didn't. It seems the Spanish law was drafted in recognition of this game theoretic problem. If traffic drops for Spanish publishers turn out to remain well below those seen by the Germans, this could become a model for other countries.

The problem is google news could link to news sites outside of Germany so there were already a large number of 'defectors'. The same thing applies to Spanish media.

This sounds almost exactly what the GEMA is doing in Germany in regards to music. They get to collect money for songs being made public. Prime example in the digital age is now youtube. And they also have something called the GEMA assumption. They do not even need to check if the author or general right holders to a particular song are represented by them. They do not even need to check if the song in question is public domain. They can just assume they are responsible and thus make youtube block basically all music on their site proactively. And then, an individual can come forward and proof that a particular song needs to be unblocked cause it is public domain or they hold the rights to it and they are not associated with GEMA to do their bill collecting.

In essence, if I were to write a song, record it and put it on youtube and it gets enough exposure, the GEMA will find it and make youtube to block it because they did not pay the GEMA for this use. Even though I am not a member of GEMA and have never told them to be my intellectual property rights enforcer.

Oh, you're almost right. What you're describing has been happening in Spain for years with a blank media tax called "canon”, and more recently (2007) with its last iteration as "digital canon": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociedad_General_de_Autores_y_E...

In the case of the digital canon the organization behind it (SGAE) had eight members (including the president) arrested and charged with embezzlement (87 million euros from 1997 to 2011).

I wouldn't be surprised if anything like that happened with this new AEDE tax. Just give them time!

My other comment has been down voted, but let me reiterate that you are factually incorrect. Its not a matter of opinion.

> In essence, if I were to write a song, record it and put it on youtube and it gets enough exposure, the GEMA will find it and make youtube to block it because they did not pay the GEMA for this use.

Completely and utterly false.

And it is false because?

because GEMA does not find it and block it, YouTube blocks it themselves because they do not have a legal agreement since 2009.

its also false because it has nothing to do with popularity. I've seen very small artists getting blocked here because youtube has data identifying them as a member of any PRO (Performance Rights Organization) that has an agreement with GEMA to get money collected in Germany and then forwarded to the PRO in the home country of the artist.

members of other PROs or anybody that does not sign on to a PRO are unaffected.

I detest GEMA and have protested in the streets against them, but the statement above is false.

This is incorrect. YouTube were a bit naughty in blaming GEMA when the issue is that the two sides have not agreed on a price. Gema is asking for too much, but they are not specifically blocking the content. Google preemptively blocks anything that might be GEMA to avoid being retroactively assessed billions of euros in some future decision.

Performance royalties for music are quite standard, this is one of the primary business models for music. Broadcasters earn money through advertising and pay content producers for the use of the content.

The Spanish news situation is different, since these are just search results excerpts leading directly to the news website.

I bet that google.com will still be visible in Spain. Search results include links to copyrighted material: web sites like elpais.com which id © EDICIONES EL PAÍS S.L. and a zillion others all around the world. Is Google removing this'd sites from the index for searches originating from Spain or it will pay the fine?

This is to show how unreasonable that law is if it's really as general as it looks.

I guess the only way to account for such a convoluted and inexact law is by taxing Internet usage through ISPs. In fact, I think we should stop calling these taxes, when these are going to the private hands of shell associations.

One of the regions in Spain, Catalonia, will start taxing ISPs next year.

A pertinent quote from the Guardian article on this story:

Germany passed a similar law to Spain’s and Google removed newspapers from Google News in response but in October publishers reached an agreement with the company after traffic to their websites plummeted.

Seems like the difference is they can't come to an agreement with publishers this time: "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"

(though of course they may be overstating the requirement)

Google should charge for listing, and it would be a nice coincidence - totally random of course, that the amount they charge is exactly the same as the amount they have to pay.

Kind of like what amazon did when France forced them to charge shipping.

They closed that loophole. Google would have to pay to a third party (equivalent of the American RIAA, essentially), but they would have to charge the individual websites.

Side note: there was no loophole for Amazon and shipping in France, just good PR that made people think there was.

Eh? Explain please.

They made a law of no free shipping, so Amazon charged 0.01 for shipping. Seems like a loophole to me.

France has fixed price for books, with at most a 5% discount from the price fixed by the editor.

For online merchant, the law allowed the 5% discount to apply only on shipping and shipping can't be free.

So it doesn't matter if amazon shipping is 1cts or 1 eur, as long as it costs less than 5% it is free for the customer. But while shipping is still free, they now have to sell more expensive books.

From the point of view of the government the law worked as intended and there is no loophole, amazon and online booksellers just became more expensive than offline shops (since they can have both free shipping and 5% discount).

Personally if find that amazon played very well there, they managed to have the public perceive as a win what was a total loss.

It´s actually no overstatement. The law includes a clause specifically to avoid that, stating that paying the tax is an "inalienable right". Of course, as the law reads, it´s more an obligation that a right... As a spanish citizen, I´m equally ashamed and enraged of this old-fashioned, short-sighted and conservative law.

What makes it conservative? The law seems quite disruptive to me.

It is conservative in that it tries to preserve the current order.

Of course, as with most such conservative stupidities, it fails by not understanding how the current order actually work.

Considering the "current order" is Google News existing and as a result it doesn't anymore, that fits the disruptive tag perfectly.

It wants to go back 10-15 years - not create a new order as is usually implied by the word disruptive. Reactionary might be the best word for it.

For the people making these laws, Google is a disruptive force that menaces the established business models.

Wow. I imagine this also affects sites like Topix. What a shame. If one wanted to get news from Spain, or any other country with similar laws, how would one search on a topic, DMOZ?

Can someone comment on the goal behind designing the Spanish law this way?

I speculate that they consider Google News to have monopolistic power, so that even if a fair market in snippets would set a finite price Google News would still use its clout to drive that price to zero by removing individual papers who tried to charge. A mandatory price would counter act this, similar to the way that government mandates to publish open access give bargaining power to the researchers over oligopolies like Nature and Science.

I believe the goal/logic is "we want money. Google has lots of money, we should try and get some of that"

You also have to consider that the publishing industry is really hurting because of people moving online and the press has a lot of political power.

I think this would be much more monopolistic if Google charged publishers for the right to be listed in Google News. If Google News was arbitrarily picky about content they listed, that would be akin to censorship.

"censorship" is too strong a word but it would be a barrier to entry to new entrants. Similar situation to the net neutrality debate. News neutrality?

I think the goal is to placate local, entrenched media.

Big news companies have complained for years about aggregation yet generally sulked when it's been removed (see Germany).

What is a "fair market in snippets"? I'm having trouble imagining a market of companies bidding on being able to include a sentence from a news article.

This seems much more like the reverse, where indeed the government is trying to prevent individual publishers from benefiting over others by not charging for snippets of their stories, but it seems much more in service of propping up the existing oligopoly of the news world.

To avoid what happened in Germany.

That's exactly how it has to be done. Google can't be allowed to copy the content or parts of it without permission of the creator. We shouldn't forget that they're making huge amounts of money by selling others work here. On the other hand Google claims to create "real value for these publications by driving people to their websites", which is often true in the short run. So the publisher can consider allowing copying parts of their articles. And Google could even consider charging them for this service.

Your statement "Google can't be allowed to copy the content or parts of it without permission of the creator" doesn't take into account that "Publishers can choose whether or not they want their articles to appear in Google News" (from the post).

I think I took this into account, but I admit I didn't see something else, which you pointed me to:

>> 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.

In Spain it's not possible for publishers to allow Google to post without payment.

So, yeah, in this case I missed the point ...

And it also doesn't take into account that publishers can use robots.txt to disallow Google News scrapping

> Google can't be allowed to copy the content or parts of it without permission of the creator

Do you also believe Google should remove the excerpts from web sites on search result pages?

If it's the substantial part of the content, yes. But in the case of most of the web search results it is not, so no.

However, you've asked the tricky question. Is it necessary to go to the website or to the original news article or not?

That's just my moral based evaluation, I guess from the perspective of a lawyer it's seen differently, much more strictly.

It seems to me if a news article can be summed up in the one-sentence excerpt shown on Google News, I could just get that from Twitter and it has very little value...

> That's exactly how it has to be done. Google can't be allowed to copy the content or parts of it without permission of the creator

Are you saying that quoting and news aggregation must be illegal without consent?

I am reading through the official law and essentially it is saying that the Spanish government finds this necessary to reinforce intellectual property protections, the ip here being the news/stories. The thing that isn't clear from the law was whether anyone had actually complained about what Google was doing or whether Google was actually found violating any ip laws in place(it doesn't seem so). The whole thing is 40 pages so I probably won't read it all. Can anyone clarify if there had been some sort of issue here?

edit: Something that sticks out is that the law dictates how any agreement involving ip is to be done even if previous agreements are in place in order to cover costs "equitably". Yet I can't see how Google isn't already beneficial. The wording suggests Google would be causing damages since damages can be included in payments under this law.

Yes. Newspapers have lobbied the government to impose a "Google Tax".


From what I can tell, that seems to sum up the law pretty well.

Things are getting pretty freaky around here in Spain. We've got some horrible (freedom-wise) laws passed recently and we're all angry about them. They've been trying to for several years, and now that people is tired of fighting these stupid laws back they can pass them. This basically means that Google would need to pay to index newspapers.

As an American I watch Europe pretty closely, and I've seen some things that are worrisome such as increasing amounts of fascism (anti-freedom / anti-privacy)... but, things seem to be getting pretty freaky almost everywhere, freedom seems to be on the retreat globally.

For Spain, speaking sociologically, how long can an advanced country have 30%-35% real unemployment, before there are severely destabilizing effects that tumble out of that (culturally, politically and so on). Greece is facing a similar context and similar extreme unemployment problems. I would think it dramatically increases the risk of getting dangerous politicians that start making fantastical promises, with voters increasingly willing to buy into them.

There has been a near total collapse across Europe of the system of promises that were made, that support the premise of the modern welfare state. Only a few countries have been spared (either partially or totally), such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, etc. France's economy for example is smaller than it was in 2004 inflation adjusted. GDP for the whole of Europe is still below 2007 levels. Even Finland's per capita GDP hasn't increased since 1990 inflation adjusted. How long can such stagnation continue before there are severe consequences.

> As an American I watch Europe pretty closely, and I've seen some things that are worrisome such as increasing amounts of fascism (anti-freedom / anti-privacy)...

As a European who watches the US, I hope the irony of your statement has not escaped you.

The NSA, the Can-Spam act, the TSA, Guantanamo Bay, how Obama gave a kill order on a US citizen without due process, how the hardline christian right and hardline libertarians across the pond would make most of our local extreme right wing clowns look like socialists, how some major libertarian voices in financial news are regularly cheerleading whacky anti-Europeans, the list could go on ad nauseam.

> Even Finland's per capita GDP hasn't increased since 1990 inflation adjusted. How long can such stagnation continue before there are severe consequences.

Doesn't sound so dire... The main reason that inflation-adjusted income has increased in the average US family unit since the 1970s is that it went from one bread earner to two. (See e.g. Elizabeth Warren's research on debt or her books, for instance The Two Income Trap, for the gory details.) I'm not seeing pitchforks.

In more seriousness, this is not meant to be a contest. The point is that things aren't as bad on the continent as you might read in Anglo-Saxon news outlets.

There's some uneasiness and some distress, sure. Here, like on the other side of the pond, the main cause of it at the end of the day is economic woes, most of which stem from bailing out the well connected instead of having let the financial system collapse -- for better or worse.

The most important take away, imho, is that we're at peace. Consider... Since the fall of Rome, we had been almost constantly at war with each other. Whereas besides the Balkans in the 1990s, and the ongoing skirmishes in Crimea, there has been no war here since WW2. That's the longest period of peace between Europe's major powers in history. And thankfully, no ending of this streak is on anyone's radar.

"As a European who watches the US, I hope the irony of your statement has not escaped you."

There's no irony in fact. I didn't claim the US condition was X Y or Z.

There's nothing ironic about a heart disease patient pointing out the condition of another heart disease patient. Nor does pointing such out, imply that the observer is lacking of heart disease.

Your reach is a failure of the application of logic. Just because I note that Europe has X problem, that does not mean I automatically think the US is lacking in X problem. Your response was emotional, the classic need to point out another's flaws because your flaws were pointed out. I get that.

I don't get my European news from Fox or CNN. And I pay close attention to the economic data coming from just about every country in Europe. I'd argue I'm likely better versed on the economics of most every country in Europe than most Europeans.

Well... it was emotional indeed, but to my credit your own post could just as well have been understood (no offense meant) as an "everything is perfect over here at home, but hey look at how things are over there!" kind of statement. Which, admittedly, rubbed me the wrong way, knowing all too well how frequent that type of statement is in Anglo-Saxon news outlets -- particularly in the economic sphere.

Anyway, no hard feelings I hope. ;-)

> As a European who watches the US, I hope the irony of your statement has not escaped you.

To be fair, he did say freedom seems to be on the retreat globally. The US and the EU are both guilty of this, though I'd argue that torture and illegal detention are a bit worse in that respect than banning newspapers from the internet (or maybe not, now that I've formulated it like that).

The EU does have the edge that these movements away from freedom are somewhat balanced by other movements towards guaranteeing freedom (like the user data protection directive).

Peacefully dying with France's and UK's immigrants high birth rate bucking the trend a bit.

I don't know where you get the "30%-35% real unemployment" figures, that to me seems absurd given that European economies are known to have large underground economies in the region of 15% of GDP... and in the case of Spain somewhat larger[0]. Albeit, unofficial, the number of jobs created by a shadow economy of €253bn is too large to ignore. Now, 25% of GDP is underground economy, and 25% unemployment seem to have something in common, don't you think? The problem to me seems to be a budget balance issue: how can Governments pay for services that a large number of the population uses, but doesn't pay. This, in my opinion is what is causing a collapse: lack of funds to pay for services, and obligations (debt), and loose cost/investment policies.

[0] http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/30/spain-black-...

> how can Governments pay for services that a large number of the population uses, but doesn't pay

What do you mean by "large number of the population"? Most of the wasted money that Spain, Portugal and Greece pay are the interest on the loans they had to take to bail out the banks. Including having billions sitting around waiting for the banks to fail. Of course the banks say they don't need it, but the interest is almost nil, so they all took loans from that money to borrow to the economy with giant profits. Those loans provided by the international institutions are simply wealth redistribution, from the poorer southern countries to the richer countries.

> Most of the wasted money that Spain, Portugal and Greece pay are the interest on the loans they had to take to bail out the banks.

I don't know how you draw that conclusion. What source are you using? Interest expenditure in Spain is around 3.5% of GDP, just look at the Eurostat numbers. Then, mixing Spain's and Portugal's economic situation with Greece's is just comparing apple and oranges, as both suffer crisis for completely different reasons.

Have a start here: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index....


> Those loans provided by the international institutions are simply wealth redistribution, from the poorer southern countries to the richer countries.

If no loans where provided the savings of millions of people would of been wiped out, literary. It seems you would of preferred that.

3.5% of GDP is a large part of the cuts being applied now. The main disagreement is that when the richer countries ignored the deficit limits to increase investment in their economies had no sanctions, while the smaller countries are forced into signing treaties that forbid public investment, in economies that are highly dependant on the public sector. Germany also benefits from being in the common market by having a larger market for their goods, but denies borrowing money for the entire EU as a whole, benefiting selfishly from their lower interest rates. They get the benefits of the EU with no downsides.

> If no loans where provided the savings of millions of people would of been wiped out, literary.

The amount of money in low risk investments and deposits it's a small fraction of the bailout. Not just that, the European Central Bank guarantees 100k€ for each person, no questions asked. It's the investment banking that creates massive losses.

So now, to you, 3.5% is "Most of the wasted money"... 3.5% is no economic pressure compared to the cost of running oversized Government structures. Back in the 80's when cost of capital for these Governments was in the 10%-15% no one really complained.

Can you cite the source where "countries ignored the deficit limits to increase investment" and "while the smaller countries are forced into signing treaties that forbid public investment". I'm fascinated by this opinion, a source would be useful, and the name and date of the agreement too.

Again, can you provide a source for the use of capital injections as you seem to know "The amount of money in low risk investments and deposits it's a small fraction of the bailout". How small is that fraction, where can I see that split?

I've got a sense that you are quoting political propaganda, but no hard evidence. But if you want to argue with no substance, and say that 2+2=78, I'm not here to for that.

> countries ignored the deficit limits to increase investment EU finance ministers reject the European Commission’s recommendation to initiate sanctions proceedings against France and Germany for flouting the Stability and Growth Pact’s rules. http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/economic_governance/time...

> smaller countries are forced into signing treaties that forbid public investment https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Fiscal_Compact

This treaty defines goals that in practice leave no budget for public investment. In the last years Portugal's debt ballooned to 125% of GDP due to all the austerity implemented. Getting this to lower to the standards of the treaty in such short time forces any government to cut spending in essential public services, sell at discount prices natural monopolies such as electricity and water distribution and raise taxes (50%+ total rate for freelancers).

As for the last one, at least in Portugal the biggest amount of money was spend covering for BPN's losses, a small bank with a market share of 2% that required upwards of 5 billion euros of taxpayer's money. Another giant money sink was BPP, an investment bank.

- I'm still waiting for the specific examples, the europa.eu link doesn't show any information you mention. Again I quote you "countries ignored the deficit limits to increase investment", none of that is mentioned in the website you refer to.

- The "European Fiscal Compact" doesn't forbid public investment. Feel free to point me to the clause in question.

- And finally:

> a small bank with a market share of 2% that required upwards of 5 billion euros of taxpayer's money

What has market share got to do with the size of the capital requirements? Lehman Brother had 0% US retail banking market share, and yet the capital requirement was well above many of the largest retail US banks. You are mixing two completely independent variables! You are mixing capital structure with a vanity metric which is market share... it's mind boggling.

The specific example are right there, Germany and France were the first countries to break the treaty and they got away scott-free.

The Compact doesn't forbid public investment per-se, but the goals it sets, combined with the current situation of some countries makes any policy other than maximum austerity unfeasable. If we can't even decide how to pay our own loans, the government turns into a bunch of bureaucrats with no real power, might as well be annexed by the loan sharks.

Market Share in commercial bank should provide a metric to the size of the bank in relation to the entire financial system. It's the whole base of the "too big to fail" ethos.

This is getting ridiculous, you are digging yourself into a hole.

No, in the specific link there is no mention of "ignored the deficit limits to increase investment in their economies had no sanctions". Your words, not mine.

Ok, so we can agree that "smaller countries are forced into signing treaties that forbid public investment" is a false statement.

Again, you are mixing the vanity metric of market share with capital structure. What do you define as "market share"? Is it volume of deposits, assets on the balance sheets, assets under management, number of employees, number of clients? What market share are you referring too? Your "market share" argument is like saying that your javascript doesn't work because your company doesn't have enough Facebook likes... Haven't you ever heard of the Basel Accords?! I can't believe I'm reading your comments on Hacker News.

Before I give up on this conversation: "Too big to fail" does not refer to market size. It refers to the entities that systemically affect risk with one another, and it includes institutions that are non-depository in the financial system... unlike the Portuguese banks you mentioned. It's really frustrating to read comments like yours on Hacker News, based on loose buzz words, but empty in substance.

> The problem to me seems to be a budget balance issue: how can Governments pay for services that a large number of the population uses, but doesn't pay.

If the population doesn't pay, who does?

The way taxes work, is that the population pays the taxes to the government, and the government in return pays for/provides certain services. Taxation is basically just like insurance, coupled with some sort of progressive redistribution or wealth.

> If the population doesn't pay, who does?

Like in most countries, including the US, budget deficit is paid with debt, and increase in taxes. That is the problem. The solution here is to uncover the underground economy, make them pay taxes (at reasonable rates), although this is no silver bullet.

about collecting taxes to pay for stuff..isn't it far easier to print new money than to collect old money back?

thats printing plus taxing..and over doing the printing part? why not print as much as one would ordinarily tax? saves the trouble of employing 100s of 1000s of people to do the tax paperwork.. and inflation is in effect a wealth tax anyway...

TL;DR: 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.

Why can't the just display the headline and no snippet from the article text? Or does that count as a snippet? But wait... what about the actual organic search results? Do they have to remove Spanish news articles from that too?

There's no consistency or reason to be found in this, the approach is insanity. What they'll end up doing is jumping from one hot stove to another to another, policy is being made up as they go along based on consequences and political pull.

Google should remove all deep links from the search database. Teach them a hard lesson.

Even better: keep the Spanish Google News operating but only link to Latin American news sources. Spanish citizens still get news in their preferred language but no traffic goes to domestic media outlets.

Actually, that's probably what is going to happen. Google news will will continue operating, just without the spanish sources.

Probably at some point some guy in some country without strong ties to spain (Probably not south america) is going to wise up, make some kind of spanish-content-only Reddit from there, and earn a shitton of money from the ads.

Or a Spanish language news paper in the states starts doing an international section.

International? I'd make a Swiss site with Spanish news in Spanish for Spanish expats in Switzerland. Totally legitimate, but it's probably going to be very popular with people in Spain looking for national news online.

Yes, but different newspapers, Different countries... same newspaper owners, at least in many cases...

One of the most iconic examples:


What makes Google News helpful is not only the language, it is the content and Latin American news are not very helpful to Spanish people

I guess it can be expected that the Latin American news sources will adapt and publish Spanish regional content.

At least I see no reason for them not to do it. There is money on the table.

This is one example of what happens when the population gives absolute power to a single political party: lobbying paradise. We spaniards have the politicians we deserve.

The similar "Sinde Law", that penalized P2P file-sharing, was approved with the votes of both PSOE (then in Government) and PP, the two main political parties.

Yea, 5 minutes before Sinde left office... Just saying.... Anyways, as someone who lives in spain since 20 years, im so tired of this right winged politicians that are removing all the socialist's advancements of the last 30 years. Healthcare: Crap. Education: Crap. And still people vote for the same right winged nuts. But i guess that is what you get when most of your population never learned any other language then Spanish. TV here is a horrible mess of crap programming (more less like the UK). I mean, our political leader refused to meet Media people directly, instead using a plasma screen to talk to them.

I wish Google would just block all their spanish services starting tomorrow. Also get MS and others to join in, and block all major internet services to Spain. I think it is even easier: block facebook and we have half the political party screaming because they actually have to work.

[Sorry for the rant. Just get so fed up with this BS...]

Move abroad. I did. I'm originally from Spain too.

To be honest, I didn't see who could benefit from this law enforcement. If the government or whoever drive this believe this would force Google to pay for the news, they are wrong in the first place. The reason is simple, if Google pays to Spain, other countries would certainly require it to do the same, otherwise, why not? So if they are not stupid, the shutdown is what they have foreseen.

If that is the case, big local newpaper/portal will be happy. Because right now, there will be more people to buy the real newspaper/visit their site directly. Maybe they will see to a certain increase in their readership. However, the trend of information digitization is inevitable. Fundamentally ,internet is more efficient in collecting, organizing and delivering information than any other media. Eventually everyone will become loser.

I don't know how this is going to end, because law is not something that could be taken back easily. Hopefully, they will be smart enough to figure out something to bypass it.

Interestingly enough, I found myself searching through news.google.es and using google translate to navigate the local news about impending shutdown of itself. Pure irony.

This reminds me the situation is actually bilateral. Unlike the precedent cases, it will block NOT ONLY Spain but also the WHOLE WORLD to access to a lot of Spanish content. In effect, this is, IMHO, even worse than China's infamous Great Firewall, which is evil but not stopping google to index local articles.

Something has to be understood.

This is not against Google in particular, is against a tool that helped people to find news in alternative media and gave visibility to small news sites.

This law is a victory for the big News Editors that are controlled by Government and economic powers in Spain

It was really funny when they published an article in El Pais comparing news aggregators with piracy and you could see the social sharing buttons next to it including those news aggregators they hated so much.

Like we say here, con dos cojones.

I am wondering if they will also remove newspapers from search results. Indexed search results of newspapers may also contain "News snippets"

According to this article (in Spanish) they are not. The law only affects news aggregators:


Even worse, this might affect Facebook, Twitter and Spanish Reddit-like site Menéame (very popular there):


Just like we have the term 'patent troll', maybe we need the term 'tax troll' for some Governments.

It's not even a tax, all the money will be collected by publishers' lobby groups.

It is a tax because it is imposed by the Government. It doesn't benefit people but some lobbies. That is true with all taxes to some extent, since a good amount of the money collected goes to subsidies or bailouts.

Yes I think we do - nice one!

I do think this is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Why couldn't google exclude Spanish news sources from google News?

If I were running Google (which obviously I'm not, and probably for good reason as what I'm about to say might indicate), I would use the companies enormous amount of capital to exclude all major Spanish news outlets and pay the the independent and fringe new outlets what the law demands as an F.U. to the AEDE. But that's just me.

I understand that politics isn't Google's business, but Google (and the Internet) is fast becoming every Politician's business; And I mean "business" as in a way for them to make money for themselves. So like it or not, Google is going to get embroiled in politics. It would be prudent to nip this sort of stuff in the bud, and make a lot of noise while they're doing it.

So how is what google news is doing not piracy? I mean, we also have Peter Sunde's post about his ideals on the front page https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8734204 and a large portion of comments seem to be very pro-copyright. How come then, that nobody here is applauding this move? Google news is absolutely breaking copyright - they're publishing others' content without their permission and without paying them. Under any measure what they do is illegal. Why then, is everyone siding with Google news on this? This legislation simply extends compulsory licensing to news publications.

Mainly because your comment: "...they're publishing others' content without their permission and without paying them." is false. The publications can choose to add or remove themselves from google news, meaning google has permission. Also because google news points to the publications and does not re-publish in whole.

I feel embarrassed of my government, they are so ridiculous, they fell so big headed that it is very good that google does these things to show them how foolish they are

Can they allow users in Spain to access Google News from a non-Spanish TLD but still serve those results in the Spanish language?

Maybe, but no spanish news sites will be included in the news results, so they'll still be missing a lot of local stuff.

Horrible policies like this are the reason Spain's unemployment rate is at 25%. Short sighted bull headed.

This type of laws will not prevent "paper news" to go to bankruptcy.

The only way for a company grow is to innovate, Google News is a tool that could help.

At the end of the day it is a lose lose situation: > readers > newspapers > Google

Why is this new law only limited to news, and not to random things put on HTTP pages in general (which could also be regarded as a news publication)?

So they'll send a invoice to my Chinese hosting provider? :P

Ok, but if i live in Spain and i use vpn with German IP, for example, i have no promblem, isn't it?

You do because you won't be able to read any news from Spanish newspapers. news.google.es will be down, and other Google News sites in Spanish (like the ones from Latin America) won't link to any media from Spain.


When you say "A lot of Europeans," can you cite a source, like a poll or even an internet forum, where like-minded Europeans express this view?

I'm not challenging your assertion, I'd just like to see it in action and measure it for myself.

Edit: in case you edit or delete your post, this is what I'm asking about:

  Does still anyone believe that 9/11 was a terrorist
  attack. A lot of Europeans think it was the US
  government itself.

There is a Wikipedia article for everything: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polls_about_9/11_conspi... And specifically this international WorldPublicOpinion.org poll whose results are compiled there: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2b/911worldo...

More or less, the opinion that the US government was behind the attack is clearly in the minority in all polled European countries.

Interesting to see the differences between countries here. That said,one has to be careful with polls in different countries: people's answers are very sensitive to question wording, and I imagine translations can introduce biases easily.


A lot of people believing something doesn't make it true.

Good for Google. Greedy, thieving socialist governments have no place in the free world. This new Spanish law stinks of "Anti Dog eat Dog" legislation. Downvote me to hell, but Who is John Galt?

I guess People's Party may sound socialist, but they're Spain's conservative party.

> Downvote me to hell

Well, you told me to...

This is not socialism, just the usual libertarian lobby.

> thieving socialist governments have no place in the free world.

Popular Party socialist?

Please, don't downvote him so we can tell how wrong about the Spanish politic he is.

Since when Google makes money by putting ads on their sites?

Not sure if you're referring to Google making money off Google News, but if so, the post mentions that it never puts ads on the News page, and only drives traffic to the sites with content

Since approximately forever.

Are we only allowed to say good things about Google in here?

You're not being downvoted for saying bad things about Google; you're being downvoted because your post doesn't make sense. As other replies mentioned, everyone knows Google makes most of their money from ads; however, as the referenced blog post states, there are no ads on Google News.

What was the last time you saw a banner in a google site?

Depends on your definition of banner, but the answer would be "the last time I used Google Search" which is about 2 minutes ago.

May not necessarily be a popular opinion on here, but I'll state it anyway:

Google may not directly profit from Google News, but they still manage to extract value from it. We exist in a top-heavy paradigm where giant servers profiteer off the work of everybody else, capturing a disproportionate percentage of the total value created.

It's unfortunate but not unexpected that Google's response is this snarky blog post. But I wish people wouldn't pretend this is somehow a giant government tipping the scales against "openness".

I see this more as an institution in charge of making sure our collective greed not getting the better of us trying to distribute wealth to those who create it proportionate to the value being created.

Is it a futile attempt, likely unaware of its own vision? Sure. I just wish Silicon Valley would get its head out of the sand and realize that the current paradigm isn't necessarily sustainable for anyone -- whether you're the one sitting atop Mt. Server enjoying crazy network effects or the person contributing value for peanuts (if you're lucky).

I disagree. The simple fact that a business benefits off another's hard work does not nessecary deprive the worker of their income. Economics is not zero-sum. Google News drives traffic to news sites that would otherwise be isolated to local communities. If anything, Google levels the playing field, allowing any nearby local news to catch as much traffic as the BBC or NYT. So to complain that Google is profiteering sounds like you want to kill the golden goose.

If it becomes harder to consume the news, people won't bother. The economic pie for news sites in Spain is about to shrink drastically.

I didn't mean to make the point "that a business benefits off another's hard work does not nessecary deprive the worker of their income". Sorry, I guess it was lost in translation somehow. My point is that Google profits disproportionately off the work of others relative to the value it creates, and that its network effects tip the scales towards a more top-heavy, power law distribution that's not sustainable in the long-term under the guise of "openness" because, hey, we get everything for free. And that this is propogated as "free" and "open" when in reality it just represents a shift in who controls what.

> If it becomes harder to consume the news, people won't bother.

I don't know a single person in Spain who uses Google News. Did a quick survey and only 1 out of 20 people I asked knew what Google News was or that it even existed.

Now, think why would the Spanish government do this if Google News usage is so marginal.



Spanish news is irrelevant now. Google will just show Spanish users broader Euro news they can continue to serve freely. Spanish newspapers just accelerated their demise.

You are so arrogant. "Google News needs to be stopped". Like you think an idea can be stopped. Please. The journalism profession exists because for a time it was profitable to package the changelog for reality in a convenient form and add a price tag. It's not profitable anymore. Like the candle-making industry, journalism is dead (as we know it). It is foolish to try to change the habits of billions of people.

Can you clarify your claim that Google News "republishes the full text of basically every article", because I'm browsing right now and all I see are headlines with brief snippets and related news.

I wouldn't consider myself an expert on Google News, but I can't remember reading full-text articles on the service. I keep a tab open every day and click through the Top Stories every couple of hours. If it weren't for Google News, I might never have visited many news sites. Indeed, if Google News did not exist, I would probably use the New York Times almost exclusively, denying hundreds of ad impressions to smaller news outlets.

Any newspaper that has a paywall and doesn't want their articles on Google News, can trivially prevent that from happening with a well-known two-line robots.txt.

Google News doesn't even republish full text. Just intro paragraph.

But newspaper sites seem to not be willing to pull their articles from Google News. They seem to be afraid that if they do, they'll lose all their traffic to the newspaper sites that are still in Google News. I don't know one way or the other., but I don't care that much.

Serious question: how do you get Google News to display the full article text? All I ever see is a short snippet, and if an article looks interesting I click the title which takes me directly to the news site. As a result, I end up visiting news sites that I've never heard of or never would have otherwise found directly.

It never shows more than the snippet. The Spanish government is arguing that people read the snippet and then never go see the article, so Google should pay for posting the snippet.

It only shows the snippet. To reproduce the full article would require Google to license the content from all the newspapers.

Any site can opt out of Google News. Publishers don't because to do so would be foolish--they'd make even less money without the traffic driven to them.

If anyone is killing newspapers it's craigslist which ate classified ads, and Apple, which invented this cute little device called a smartphone that's snagged a few billion dollars of local advertising. And of course, newspapers, which all when online, which meant that you had 1000 news options, as opposed to the couple of local papers.

I haven't seen any articles where Google News published the full text. Could you give an example?

"we don't make money because we do not advertise on that site" is a huge fallacy.

This sounds like a bluff because if that gets traction in the US then their search business will collapse. Imagine $0.01 for every search that shows a snipet of wikipedia to the wiki foundation?

It's a bit disengenous because although they don't directly make money on the News portal, it reinforces their market position and keeps users in the Google ecosystem. Those users in turn run searches that DO display ads.

that is exactly what i implied.

Google already makes billions from Wikipedia. The problem with kicking money back is that nothing goes to the contributors, but to the useless Wikimedia Foundation.

You can try to fork Wikipedia. The content is all available, all you need is a bunch of servers; then you can convince the contributors to come over.

I don't think it is possible to make "the next Wikipedia" from a fork. It's easier and cheaper to remake the data so that it works right from the get go. Best to start fresh. If the data is better then the contributors will come over anyway.

> It's easier and cheaper to remake the data so that it works right from the get go.

Could you please explain? I don't understand how the data (ie all the articles) would weigh one down.

Wikipedia as an organization has some cultural issues that one might want to fix. I don't really see a problem with the data that would warrant starting from scratch. (Starting from scratch might be necessary to fix the culture. But that's another argument to make.)

The problem is that the data has so many errors and inconsistencies it would actually take much longer to fix them than to start fresh. There is also the problem that Wikipedia data is based on pages (each page is an article). Using a smaller data type would allow for features like sorting and filtering the data on the page. I am working on these issue on my own site. As for the culture: that will not change. The culture follows the software design. You can read a deeper analysis here: http://newslines.org/blog/wikipedias-13-deadly-sins/

I think you missed his point about the servers.

The Google News website doesn't show any banner ads.

But it does lead to sites that likely show ads from google. So technically news.google.com doesn't generate revenue but it does direct traffic to news.spain.commercial.site that is showing google ads along side news.

...and that website also makes money. Really, this hurts Spanish news websites more than it hurts Google.

So you are saying that Google should be charging the sites money since it brings them ad traffic?

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