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Google News returns to Spain after legislation changes

Google News stopped serving in Spain in 2014 after local legislation required news publishers to charge Google to show headlines, snippets, or whole articles in the News service. Today, the company announced that the News service will reopen early next in Spain due to Royal Decree implementing the European Copyright Directive.

What is the European Union Copyright Directive? This legislation “allows third-party online news platforms to negotiate directly with content providers” instead of mandating they all charge news services like Google News collective fees, according to Reuters. The new law means that individual publications can choose whether or not they want to charge Google and other news aggregation services to include their stories, and, as such, these news services can choose whether or not to include them in their aggregation platforms.

Benefits to publishers. It’s very likely that many publishers took a traffic and therefore ad revenue hit when Google News and similar news aggregation services stopped offering the platform in Spain. By reintroducing it into the area, there will likely be increases in the number of views and readers.

Benefits to Google. “The big difference from Google’s point of view is that it no longer has to pay a fee to Spain’s entire media industry and can instead negotiate fees with individual publishers,” wrote James Vincent for The Verge. Many publications will end up waiving these fees due to the amount of traffic they receive from services like Google News. It’s obvious that Google and big-name publishers will come out on top in these negotiations, while smaller publications that cannot afford to negotiate fees or that will have to accept no fees will likely lose out.

Why we care. The reintroduction of Google News (and other news sources like Facebook) into Spain could benefit advertisers in the area as publications can net more traffic from these news aggregation sources. Time will tell if smaller publications will be able to stand up to publishing giants and work on negotiation with the big tech companies Google and Facebook.

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