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 Internet is like a delicate rainforest ecosystem. You remove one player and the rest suffer and die. That happened in Spain this week when the government there began cracking down on Google. The Spanish government is requiring the company to pay Spanish news providers every time their content appears on the site. The search giant will shut down Google News there in response and no content will be available from the country’s major newspapers including El Pais and La Vanguardia. As you can imagine, this is bad news. While newspapers have long claimed they can survive in the Internet Age without outside support, this is dead wrong. Given that the vast majority of news traffic comes from search – everything from “new laser printer” to “is betty white married” returns information from news sources – I can only imagine how much Spanish newspapers depend on Google for their reach and visitor count.