GLOBAL ECONOMY

Google 'incredibly sad' to pull the plug on its News page in Spain over new tax

FILE - In this April 17, 2007 file photo, exhibitors work on laptop computers in front of an illuminated Google logo at the industrial fair Hannover Messe in Hanover, Germany. Google said Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 it will shut down its Google News service in Spain to prevent publishers' content from appearing on it  ahead of a new law requiring the Internet search company to pay Spanish news organizations for linked content or snippets of news. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, File)

FILE - In this April 17, 2007 file photo, exhibitors work on laptop computers in front of an illuminated Google logo at the industrial fair Hannover Messe in Hanover, Germany. Google said Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 it will shut down its Google News service in Spain to prevent publishers' content from appearing on it ahead of a new law requiring the Internet search company to pay Spanish news organizations for linked content or snippets of news. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, File)

Google on Tuesday followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a new law there requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

The company's Spanish Google News page, normally full of aggregated news content, vanished and was replaced by a message saying Google was "incredibly sad" to announce the closure plus a lockout of Spanish publishers from more than 70 other Google News sites around the world.

Spain's law takes effect Jan. 1, and Google said it wasn't worth it to consider paying the publishers for linking to their content because its popular news aggregator makes no money.

The law, nicknamed the "Google Tax," was pushed through by Spain's AEDE association representing large news organizations.

People who use Google's standard search in Spain and anywhere else around the world will still be able to find articles on their own from Spanish publications, because the law applies only to aggregators and not to individuals who do their own searches outside of Google News.

But the lost access to Google News will likely make it more difficult for people to keep abreast on what it is happening in Spain because they will have to know what to look for instead of having the top stories sorted for them.

A search of the Google News page in the United States late Tuesday morning for news from Spain's leading newspaper El País showed only a direct link to El País and content produced no later than Monday. But the same search for Spain's No. 2 newspaper El Mundo turned up results for stories produced by that newspaper on Tuesday.

A Google spokesman declined comment on how long the effort to block Spanish news content from all Google News sites would take.

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