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Google The Media Your Rights Online

Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain 191

English-language site The Spain Report reports that Google's response to mandated payments for linking to and excerpting from Spanish news media sources — namely, shutting down Google News in Spain — doesn't sit well with Spanish Newspaper Publishers' Association, which issued a statement [Thursday] night saying that Google News was "not just the closure of another service given its dominant market position," recognising that Google's decision "will undoubtedly have a negative impact on citizens and Spanish businesses. Given the dominant position of Google (which in Spain controls almost all of the searches in the market and is an authentic gateway to the Internet), AEDE requires the intervention of Spanish and community authorities, and competition authorities, to effectively protect the rights of citizens and companies." Irene Lanzaco, a spokeswoman for AEDE, told The Spain Report by telephone that "we're not asking Google to take a step backwards, we've always been open to negotiations with Google" but, she said: "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." Asked if the newspaper publishers' association had received any complaints from its members since Wednesday's announcement by Google, Mrs. Lanzaco refused to specify, but said: "Spanish publishers talk to AEDE constantly."
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Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain

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  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Sunday December 14, 2014 @05:43PM (#48596287) Journal

    The newspapers are the greedy ones. They want to be listed prominently for free and then charge for the content of the list! Hey, if they close the deal, great. Business is business.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14, 2014 @05:44PM (#48596293)

    Why would Google continue the service to lose money for a function they gain none through...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14, 2014 @05:47PM (#48596313)

      Funny thing about extortion. If the person you're trying to extort can just walk away without paying the extortion, they always do.

  • HAHA! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14, 2014 @05:46PM (#48596303)

    Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

    That being said, are people too stupid/too lazy to just go to the newspapers' websites and browse the articles?

    (probably...)

    • They could just use Bing instead of Google.
    • by N1AK ( 864906 )

      That being said, are people too stupid/too lazy to just go to the newspapers' websites and browse the articles?

      Well some people are stupid enough to think using news aggregators is stupid/lazy so anything is possible... Google's entire business model is collecting information together so you don't have to search through hundreds of seperate sources.

  • Imagine that! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Sunday December 14, 2014 @05:46PM (#48596305)

    Well imagine that, they want it all - free traffic from from Google that google has to pay for... Well, it comes full circle now.

    "Rights holders" still do not understand the equation.

    Google needs to play this card more often.

    • Re:Imagine that! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Sunday December 14, 2014 @05:50PM (#48596343)

      Google needs to play this card more often.

      Yes, I'm glad to see someone is finally growing a pair and standing up to this nonsense.

      Funny how, just like in Germany, the newspaper publishers scream that Google is killing them, but when Google leaves they complain that Google's leaving is killing them.

      • Re:Imagine that! (Score:4, Informative)

        by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@gm a i l.com> on Sunday December 14, 2014 @06:02PM (#48596407) Journal

        Google needs to play this card more often.

        Yes, I'm glad to see someone is finally growing a pair and standing up to this nonsense.

        Funny how, just like in Germany, the newspaper publishers scream that Google is killing them, but when Google leaves they complain that Google's leaving is killing them.

        They're looking to blame anyone except themselves. Google is the target du jour.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        Closing the service was a fairly extreme option. Google don't make any money directly because they don't have ads on the site... So turn on the ads for Spanish users. They make money by driving users to their other services too.

        But instead of negotiating or even trying to compromise they just took their ball and left.

        • Re:Imagine that! (Score:5, Informative)

          by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Sunday December 14, 2014 @06:13PM (#48596471) Homepage

          The publishers didn't attempt to negotiate. They were passing laws / regulations. Negotiations happen between parties on a relatively equal footing.

          That being said. This is negotiating. The Spanish publishers said you can't link to our content without paying. Google said no. The publishers passed a law to enforce their position. So now they showed their big stick. Google decides not to link at all which will drive Spanish internet news traffic outside of Spain. That's Google's big stick. This is what negotiating looks like when threats are involved.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

            Publishers do not have legislative powers. Democratically elected leaders do.

            Democracy means (at least in theory) that demos, the people get to decide what is best for their country. And right now, a lot of people across Europe are not fond of Google's obvious disregard of them as unimportant enough to not even be negotiated with.

            In general, most European nations have a tradition that these things are negotiated on. US/UK tradition is in direct conflict with this, and is more of posturing and ultimatums.

            • Re:Imagine that! (Score:5, Interesting)

              by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Sunday December 14, 2014 @08:12PM (#48597011) Homepage

              Democracy means (at least in theory) that demos, the people get to decide what is best for their country. And right now, a lot of people across Europe are not fond of Google's obvious disregard of them as unimportant enough to not even be negotiated with.

              The problem is that European democracies aren't representing the people. Google is more popular in Europe than it is the United States. For example for search Google is down to 68% while in Europe it is still over 90%. Android in the USA has about 25% share among the top 50% incomewise. In Europe the numbers are often as high as 80%. Both countries are similar for the bottom 50% economically. So I don't think it is accurate to say the people of Europe object.

              Now what is accurate to say is that the government objects. Google is a major dispenser of technology and news and is simply proving unwilling to cave with European governments on a host of issues. I would call what Google is doing negotiating. What you might mean is pleading where a company goes to a government and says, "pretty please can you change the law to X". Google is negotiating not pleading because ultimately Google understands from its experience with China where pleading leads.

            • Re:Imagine that! (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Notabadguy ( 961343 ) on Sunday December 14, 2014 @08:28PM (#48597071)

              If you were to RTFA linked in the summary, you would find two things:

              1. The Spanish Newpaper Lobbyist Group (AEDE) is behind the legislation.
              2. Corruption in Spain is rampant, in every aspect of life.

              • Corruption is rampant nearly everywhere. Plus last time I heard Spain was a democratic regime with a parliamentary monarchy.

                In the USA the MPAA and RIAA pass stupid laws all the time why do you think in Spain things would be different?

                • Corruption is rampant nearly everywhere. Plus last time I heard Spain was a democratic regime with a parliamentary monarchy.

                  In the USA the MPAA and RIAA pass stupid laws all the time why do you think in Spain things would be different?

                  He doesn't, he was telling that to the naive person he was responding who thinks it should be different.

              • "2. Corruption in Spain is rampant, in every aspect of life."

                No, not in every aspect of life but, unluckily it's rampant on politicians.

            • Re:Imagine that! (Score:4, Insightful)

              by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Sunday December 14, 2014 @09:00PM (#48597223)

              "Publishers do not have legislative powers. Democratically elected leaders do."

              Have you thought a bit about what the "intellectual propiety business" involves, moreso when talking about levvies?

              It basically gets down to the collecting agency sitting down waiting for the buckets full of money to arrive.

              This means two things:
              1) They have quite a lot of money.
              2) They don't need to work a hard day for the money to arrive so they have time to do other things instead... like lobbying the government making use of the lot of money they gather (see one).

              And then, let's talk about the subset of IP business we are talking here: press. They not only have the money and the inclination to lobby the government, they also control the tool politics are most afraid of: press. Now put together these three things and see that, yes, publishers have indeed factual legislative powers.

            • Publishers do not have legislative powers. Democratically elected leaders owned by publisher lobbying organizations do.

              Fixed that for you. You're welcome.

            • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

              The Publishers have elected leaders in their pockets. They pulled out their pet politicians and put them to work earning their keep by passing their master's legislation. I find it quaint that you seem to think politicians work for the people who elect them. What a novel idea.

            • by paiute ( 550198 )

              a lot of people across Europe are not fond of Google's obvious disregard of them as unimportant enough to not even be negotiated with.

              In general, most European nations have a tradition that these things are negotiated on. US/UK tradition is in direct conflict with this, and is more of posturing and ultimatums.

              Bullshit. European tradition is to have a monarch dictate policy. US tradition is to argue everything out because we got rid of our King, so we had to vote on policy.

            • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

              Except that Google and Its employees are citizens with rights too. Everyone should be equal under the law. The law in Spain is now, you have to pay to link to certain types of content. Fine, Google is complying with the law, they tried to convince the people not to support it and failed, so now they are being a good citizen and obeying.

              Its not Google's fault you or the news papers miss'em now that they are gone. If Google is now to be forced to operate a news aggregator, than so should every other organ

          • Yeah, except the Spanish media is not at all in a good negotiating position. It's not like the only Spanish-language press is in Spain. Spaniards who like Google's service can just switch their link to news.google.ar, .mx, or whatever. Or Google can even keep news.google.es but focus on stories about Spain as they appear in the Spanish-speaking press outside of Spain.

            If Spaniards come to see domestic newspapers as dispensable, those newspapers are the only party that loses. In fact, I would bet that before

            • by jbolden ( 176878 )

              It is illegal in Spain to not collect the fee. That's how the Spanish law differs from the German law. On the other hand the possibility of Spanish internet news moving abroad is very high. The first wave of bankruptcy would be the secondary Spanish news sites which depend on Google to drive traffic. So they are going to be highly motivated to sell their content to a Mexican newspaper with a Spanish news section...

        • Google don't make any money directly because they don't have ads on the site...

          Any service that brings traffic to Google, will - perhaps in other ways - bring money to Google. Google does not provide "free services", and in this case, the "rights holders" in Spain not only want free, they want Google to pay so that they, the "rights holders" in Spain can not only make money on Google traffic, but make Google pay for the "right" to them.

          Of course it is complete bullshit, as the Spaniards had now concluded...

        • Re:Imagine that! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DrJimbo ( 594231 ) on Sunday December 14, 2014 @08:16PM (#48597025)

          But instead of negotiating or even trying to compromise they [Google] just took their ball and left.

          WTF? What was there to negotiate or compromise on? Paying the extortionists any non-zero amount would have been the worst business decision ever made by Google. While there were extreme options available to Google, such as law suits and massive lobbying, Google took a rather mild approach by obeying the silly law while refusing to pay the extortion which meant they simply shut down their services that would have been encumbered by the extortion racket.

          Even if the complete lunacy of the extortion racket was not clear to you previously, this idiotic press release should have made it crystal clear. The Spanish news media need Google more than Google needs them. Therefore it was idiotic for the Spanish news media to try to get Google to pay them for providing them with a service they greatly desire.

          When you are freely providing someone a service they greatly desire and then they want to charge *you* for providing them with this service, there is very little room for compromise or negotiation. For example, if I owned a country and passed a law that Slashdot has to pay me for every comment I post, their only logical response would be to stop allowing me to post comments. I could bitch and moan about them being big babies about it but until my position has some relationship to reality, there is really nothing to negotiate or compromise on.

        • by DrJimbo ( 594231 )

          But instead of negotiating or even trying to compromise they [Google] just took their ball and left.

          Here is a better analogy:

          A: If you don't pay us a bunch of money we are going to shoot ourselves in the foot!

          B: That's a ridiculous business proposition. We aren't going to pay you anything. Shoot yourselves if you feel you must but we don't recommend it.

          A: Wah! You are such a big baby! Why won't you at least negotiate or compromise?

      • Funny how, just like in Germany, the newspaper publishers scream that Google is killing them, but when Google leaves they complain that Google's leaving is killing them.

        Germany is looking for a final solution to the Google problem.

    • by Zocalo ( 252965 )

      Google needs to play this card more often.

      No, they need to play it judiciously lest they get accused of abusing their dominant position in the industry to get their own way. In cases like this, I'd say it's justified, but if it looks like this kind of thing is going to become a regular occurance then they'd better make it clear up front that this is their policy and the expected outcome of any such future legislation. Annoying governments by acting like the proverbial 800lb gorilla is a good way to get

      • Re:Imagine that! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Sunday December 14, 2014 @06:37PM (#48596589) Homepage

        Generally when governments legislate in good faith they bring major stakeholders in. The Spanish government shouldn't be regulating search without having Google at the table unless your goal is to move Spain away from Google.

        That being said I think walking like this is the right thing to do. Spain (and Europe in general) needs to start working with USA companies whom their people use for services but who do not want to be part of the European regulatory regime. They need to decide, what their policy on how international they want the internet to be. Right now they want the entire continuum:
        a) their people to have full easy access to the global internet everything
        b) The internet their people has access to run under European law

        They need to pick a point on the continuum understanding that (a) and (b) are opposites.

  • A step too far? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Sunday December 14, 2014 @05:48PM (#48596321) Homepage Journal

    One has to love the unforeseen consequences. By the way, this is the first time I saw that the Spanish legislation went further than the German ones - The German court decision merely gave the right to charge, but per the article the Spanish one mandated charging.

    I can't help but picture that AEDE is going 'NOT AS PLANNED NOT AS PLANNED!!!'. Though how they could expect Google's actions to be any different in this case than it was in Germany, I don't know.

    Spend many millions in lobbying efforts to force Google to pay for doing X, only to have Google go 'Fine, we won't do X', costing them potentially millions more in advertising.

    Now, one should remember that consumer protection and business regulation is much stronger over in Europe, but deciding that a business has to continue to run at a loss is pushing it. It's more likely that they'll get a emergency overruling of the 'must pay' system.

    Because let's face it: NOBODY is going to want to run a news aggregator where they have to pay to list the news. It's more likely that the news sites would have to pay to be listed.

    • It's more likely that the news sites would have to pay to be listed.

      That is an option. Wouldn't it be lovely if Google offered to bring back the news aggregator only if subsidized by the papers?

      • It's more likely that the news sites would have to pay to be listed.

        That is an option. Wouldn't it be lovely if Google offered to bring back the news aggregator only if subsidized by the papers?

        Better yet, getting permission to put more than just snippets online. Host the whole damn paper, rather than the individual publishers having to have their own platforms. The publishers still get ad revenue, and an improved online presence, without as much overhead in their online department.

        Of course their print edition will tank, but it already is, so what DO they have to lose?

      • by qzzpjs ( 1224510 )

        That is an option. Wouldn't it be lovely if Google offered to bring back the news aggregator only if subsidized by the papers?

        I always thought this might be a good solution for Google. The news clips they publish on the search page are technically adverts for the full article. Google should charge the news sites for that advertising which would include the cost that Google pays to the news site for copyright, plus a nice 5-10% or so to pay for the extra administrators Google would need to employ to manage it. A useless waste of time and money transfer, but that's the way their law demands it now.

    • Spanish legislation went further than the German ones - The German court decision merely gave the right to charge, but per the article the Spanish one mandated charging.

      Keep in mind that wasn't an accidental difference. In Germany, the publishers that opted out of the scheme (and kept their presence in Google News) benefited from absence of those who didn't opt out, which created a motive for all publishers to opt out in a sort of tragedy of the commons situation. The Spanish lawmakers wanted to prevent that.

      • The Spanish lawmakers wanted to prevent that.

        By what realistic measure did AEDE expect Google to pay, when it outright stated that it'd shut down in Germany before paying? Did they expect Spain to be different?

        Like has been said, news aggregation is a loss leader for google - they don't even get advertising money on those pages.

        • By what realistic measure did AEDE expect Google to pay, when it outright stated that it'd shut down in Germany before paying? Did they expect Spain to be different?

          Basically, yes, they thought that Spain would be different.

          I think their assumption was that the Germans were a bunch of savages squatting in the ruins of a civilization that could safely be ignored, but that SPAIN! was still the center of civilized culture in the world, and therefore the rules were different....

          It's the sort of parochialism y

      • by jlar ( 584848 )

        "Keep in mind that wasn't an accidental difference. In Germany, the publishers that opted out of the scheme (and kept their presence in Google News) benefited from absence of those who didn't opt out, which created a motive for all publishers to opt out in a sort of tragedy of the commons situation. The Spanish lawmakers wanted to prevent that."

        The legislation is an attempt to create a law mandated news cartel:

        "In economics, a cartel is an agreement between competing firms to control prices or exclude entry

  • These publishers used the wrong attack angle. They should have negotiated some nominal fee say US$100/yr in return for Google linking to their sites as it saw fit.

    Their argument would be that the relationship entranches Google's mindshare among users and furthers its hegemony in search. That can't be bad for Google.

    Google would have come to the table.

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )

      They should have negotiated some nominal fee

      Why? They tried to squeeze money out of Google and failed; charging a nominal fee serves no purpose.

      • "Why? They tried to squeeze money out of Google and failed; charging a nominal fee serves no purpose."

        That they tried to squeeze money from Google is the stated true in press they even called the law "The Google Levvy". What they don't tell is that this isn't their only purpose. The real purpose of the law is to silent all voices not within AEDE. In Spain is not the press that it is the fourth power, AEDE is, and they want to stay that way.

  • That I no longer have Google with which to access my porn!

    I mean, what did they do back in the heady days of JaNET and dialup BBS, yanno, like "Before Google"??

    • That I no longer have Google with which to access my porn!

      I mean, what did they do back in the heady days of JaNET and dialup BBS, yanno, like "Before Google"??

      A line printer, a ton of green-bar paper, a lot of tape and scissor work, hang it on the wall, and then stand way, way back to find out you've been Rick-Rolled and it's the "woman in hat" picture again?

  • It Spain wishes to use its "authoriteh" as a nation to attempt to extort protectionist fees for a service that already serves as a benefit to the very business they are trying to protect - Google is, as a private entity, well within its rights to terminate the availability of Google News in Spain and take additional steps up to and including delisting targeted classes of companies entirely from their general index as a method of showing their dismay.
    • While I don't know where you are located, the word "right's" in a business sense, might not be qualified to use in the EU. They have different rules that they play by. Googles stance, of "it's my ball and I'm leaving the game" might be a legit Right in the USA, but in the EU it might not be.

      This action might be a painful lesson for both the EU and Google. Google's Spanish subsidiary might be forced into action that is unwelcome ( I believe it happened in google china ), the EU might have to intervene and sa

      • Googles stance, of "it's my ball and I'm leaving the game" might be a legit Right in the USA, but in the EU it might not be.

        In the end, it's not a right but a simple fact. It *is* Google's ball and they can take it and go home if they want to. The EU can enact levies and bans to punish Google but in the end they can't make Google do business if they don't want to.

  • You didn't ask google or negotiate with google. Your government said they'd use their state agencies to cease google assets or go through international diplomatic channels to cease google assets unless google started paying you money.

    Google responded by taking that power away from you by shutting down all excuses you would have to use such powers.

    Quid pro quo.

    This for that.

    Action = Reaction.

    What needs to be walked back is the Spanish law or attempt to make google pay. If you want google to do some sort of a

    • Or, maybe google offer create a fee structure for listing something in google news that covers the IP cost plus a reasonable administrative fee.

      • Why?

        How about this...

        Google agrees to not list anything a site has on google news unless they sign a EULA or whatever that says google isn't going to pay them for it.

        Then individual news outlets can individually choose if they want to be listed or want to be ignored.

        There you go. Problem solved.

        • Except that the spanish law forbids this from taking place to prevent a repeat of Germany....where this did take place.

  • We don't want you to close. We just want you to pay us.

  • I think Google should not only close Google News in spain, but also delist all Spanish (located in spain) sites. I bet the Spanish government would quickly change their tune.

  • Never negotiate with terrorists.
  • You weren't supposed to stop routing customers to us, you were supposed to give us money!

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