Alphabet plans to reopen its Google News service in Spain early next year, after a seven year absence from the country.

Google’s news service in Spain was shut down in December 2014 in response to legislation which meant it had to pay a mandatory collective licensing fee to re-publish headlines, or snippets of news.

Google at the time took exception to that new law, nicknamed the ‘Google tax‘ and instead closed Google News in Spain on 16 December.

Google News

Seven years later and Alphabet this week has confirmed in a blog post that Google News will return to Spain, after the government there passed new legislation that allows media outlets to negotiate directly with the tech giant.

In 2014, we closed Google News in Spain due to local legislation,” wrote Spain Country Manager Fuencisla Clemares in the blog. “Today, we’re announcing that Google News will soon be available once again in Spain. We made this decision as a result of a new Royal Decree implementing the European Copyright Directive, introduced today by the Spanish government.”

“This is good news for readers in Spain,” wrote Clemares. “Starting early next year, Google News will provide links to useful and relevant news stories, from a wide range of sources, to help people in Spain find more information about current events and to dive deeper into those stories.”

“Moreover, Google News helps people get more information from more news sources; a key tool in the fight against misinformation,” wrote Clemares. “For journalists and publishers, Google News helps them be discovered by more readers and generate valuable free traffic.”

“Along with the return of Google News, the new copyright law allows Spanish media outlets – big and small – to make their own decisions about how their content can be discovered and how they want to make money with that content,” wrote Clemares.

“Over the coming months, we will be working with publishers to reach agreements which cover their rights under the new law,” Clemares added.

The return of Google News to Spain comes after the Spanish government on Tuesday approved a European Union copyright directive passed in 2019, that permits third-party online news platforms to negotiate directly with content providers.

This EU legislation has to be adopted by all EU countries, and requires tech platforms such as Google or Facebook for example, to share revenues with publishers.

News Showcase

Since late 2020 onwards, Google has been signing content deals with local publishers around the world, as part of its News Showcase scheme.

The Google News Showcase scheme was first mooted back in June 2020, as a way to compensate news publishers initially in Australia, Brazil, and Germany for the news they produce.

CEO Sundar Pichai then pledged $1 billion (£778m) over three years to the News Showcase scheme.

In February Google signed a UK deal with News Corp to that it will provide premium content for the Google News Showcase offering, in return for “significant payments” from Google.

Google also signed agreements with local news and content publishers in Australia, after agreeing to restart its News Showcase scheme in that country.

Google also agreed to pay $76 million (£55m) to French news publishers under the terms of a deal to end a copyright dispute.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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