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    Google News re-opens in Spain after eight-year shutdown

    MADRID (AFP) – Google re-opened its news aggregator in Spain yesterday nearly eight years after it closed the service because of a Spanish law which imposed fees on the company for using publishers’ content.

    The United States (US) tech giant announced in November 2021 that Google News would return to Spain, without setting a date, after Madrid approved a 2019 European Union (EU) copyright law that allows third-party online news platforms to negotiate directly with content providers regarding fees. This means Google no longer has to pay a fee to Spain’s entire media industry and can instead negotiate with individual publishers.

    “Today, on the global 20th anniversary of Google News, and after an almost eight-year hiatus, Google News is returning to Spain,” Google’s Vice President for Spain and Portugal, Fuencisla Clemares, wrote in a blogpost. “This is thanks to an updated copyright law that allows Spanish media outlets, big and small, to make their own decisions about how their content can be discovered and monetised,” she added.

    Clemares also said the company plans to work with editors to reach agreements to launch in Spain “as soon as possible” its platform for paying news publishers, Google News Showcase.

    Google News closed in Spain in December 2014 after legislation passed requiring web platforms such as Google and Facebook to pay publishers to reproduce content from other websites, including links to their articles that describe a story’s content.

    Google has argued that its news site drives readers to newspapers and magazine websites and thus helps them generate advertising revenue and find new subscribers.

    File photo shows a woman walking below a Google sign on the campus in Mountain View, California on September 24, 2019. PHOTO: AP
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