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After Law Requires Payments To Papers, Google News Shuts Down In Spain

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And now a debate over a much more modern form of news delivery - Google News is a popular variation on the traditional Google search engine. It links to news content from around the world. By doing that it brings readers, but no money to the news outlets producing the content.

That is changing in Spain where a new law will soon require news aggregators, like Google and Yahoo, to pay Spanish news agencies. Google's response - it's shutting down Google News in Spain. From Madrid, Lauren Frayer reports.

LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: The new law is intended to protect Spain's news industry. It's popularly known as the Google tax and goes into effect in January. Spanish newspapers lobbied for the law but...

MATTHEW BENNETT: I haven't read a single comment from any tech expert in Spain or outside of Spain that says anything positive about this. They're all negative.

FRAYER: Matthew Bennett is editor of The Spain Report. He's happy that Google News brings web traffic to his online publication.

BENNETT: This kind of initiative is not good for brand of Spain and the image of Spain that the government worries about so much abroad, in terms of the way it's dealing with technology and situations in the 21st century.

FRAYER: Google says it doesn't sell advertising on Google News and makes no money on the service. Paying fees for linking to content, says Google, is unsustainable. So as of December 16 Google News will not be available in Spain and no content from Spanish news outlets will appear on Google News anywhere. Bennett recently registered his website in the U.K. so he'll still appear in Google News. But the end result, he says, is that fewer people around the world will get news from Spain.

BENNETT: So this sort of diffusion affect that Google News had allowing us to find lots of different stories from lots of different sites, that's going to disappear now for readers in Spain and also for lots of international readers trying to use Google News to look at the Spanish news.

FRAYER: The reaction here is summed up in this popular tweet - have you heard the news from Spain? Well, you won't anymore. From NPR News, I'm Lauren Frayer in Madrid. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Corrected: December 12, 2014 at 12:00 AM EST
The headline and summary of this story previously suggested Google shuttered its News site for Spain because of a court ruling. The decision was the result of the passage of a new law.