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June 22, 2022, 1:32 p.m.
LINK: blog.google  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   June 22, 2022

Google News is back online in Spain, eight years after the company pulled the product as a result of a Spanish law that would have required it to pay for linking to news sites.

Google says the loss of Google News hurt Spanish publishers, and there’s evidence to back that up. A 2017 study found, for instance, that “the shutdown of Google News reduces overall news consumption by about 20% for treatment users, and it reduces page views on publishers other than Google News by 10%.”

Last November, Spain overturned the 2014 law and instead signed on to a European Union copyright directive that lets publishers negotiate their agreements directly with platforms. The new directive still contains a snippet tax, but “the right to restrict such links is at least waivable,” explained Felix Reda, an affiliate of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center and a former member of the European Parliament who focused on copyright law. “Publishers are free to charge news aggregators and search engines who want to link to their press articles using snippets, but they are also free to allow links free of charge.” As a result, Google News no longer has to negotiate with every individual publisher it links to in Spain.

Separately, on Tuesday, Google reached an agreement with France’s government to negotiate with French publishers over payments for links to their content.

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