The main media lobby behind Spain’s new intellectual property law, which caused Google to announce late on Wednesday night that it was to close Google News in Spain, has now said it wants the Spanish government and European competition authorities to intervene to stop Google shutting down the service.
The Spanish Newspaper Publishers’ Association (AEDE) issued a statement last 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”.
Google announced late on Wednesday that it would close its Google News service in Spain on Tuesday, December 16: “as a result of a new Spanish law”, saying the Internet had created “tremendous opportunities but also real challenges for publishers as competition both for readers’ attention and for advertising euros increased”.
“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.”