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Hold the front page: Spain's anti-Google lobbyists lobby for Google News return

'Scrapped scraper puts rights under threat,' mumbles AEDE

Anti-Google lobby group the AEDE, which represents publishers in Spain, has asked the country's government to prevent the ad giant from shuttering its news-scraping service.

The volte-face comes after Mountain View threatened on Thursday to kill Google News in Spain, because it argued that a clumsy, new intellectual property law was bad for business.

That legislation, expected to be implemented in the new year, will tackle any website that links to pirated content. The law would allow the AEDE (Association of Editors of Spanish Dailies) to charge content aggregators like Google and Yahoo! for any snippets of news that they publish.

Additionally, authorities will be granted powers to fine websites up to €600,000 for linking to pirated content.

Google News boss Richard Gingras griped about the tax on the multi-billion-dollar corporation in a blog post on 11 December, in which he said:

[S]adly, as a result of a new Spanish law, we’ll shortly have to close Google News in Spain. Let me explain why. 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.

Now, the AEDE has asked the Spanish government to try to prevent Google's exit.

“AEDE requires the intervention of Spanish and community authorities, and competition authorities, to effectively protect the rights of citizens and companies,” it said.

A spokeswoman at the lobby group told The Spain Report that the AEDE had not asked "Google to take a step backwards, we’ve always been open to negotiations with Google”.

She reportedly added: “Google has not taken a neutral stance".

“Of course they are free to close their business, but one thing is the closure of Google News and quite another the positioning in the general index.”

Publishers in Spain are no doubt panicking about the prospect of their web traffic plummeting if Google does pull the plug on its news service next week.

Belgium and most recently Germany have failed to bring in a law that protects intellectual works, while taxing Google for its news-scraping tactics.

It would seem that it's now the turn of Spanish publishers to have a bad news day. ®

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