MADRID - In a decision that will reverberate around the globe, Google announced Thursday it will close Google News in Spain and block reports from Spanish publishers from more than 70 Google News international editions due to a new Spanish law requiring aggregators to pay to link content.
Google News in Spain will shut down Tuesday. A Spanish intellectual property law takes effect Jan. 1 requiring news publishers to be paid.
That means people in Latin America, where Spanish news organizations have sought to boost their audiences, won't see news from Spain via Google News in Mexico or elsewhere. Also set to disappear are reports in English from Spanish publishers like Madrid's El País newspaper.
People who use Google's standard search anywhere around the world will still be able to find articles from Spanish publications, because the law applies only to aggregators.
The decision by Google Inc. is the first shutdown since Google News debuted in 2002.
Richard Gingras, head of Google News, said the decision was made "with real sadness" because Google News is "a service that hundreds of millions of users love and trust, including many here in Spain."
Spain's AEDE association, which represents large news publishers, lobbied for the law, nicknamed the "Google Tax," and said that Spaniards and Spanish businesses will suffer as a result of Google's decision.
AEDE said the full impact of the move will only become known after the shutdown but added that the law was needed to "effectively protect the rights of citizens and businesses."
A spokesman for El País said the newspaper did not plan to comment on Google's action. The publishers of three other large Spanish newspaper groups also declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.
Spain's Culture Ministry characterized Google's move as a legitimate business decision.
The new law did not specify how much publishers would have to be paid by Google or other aggregators, but the company said Spain's law is much stricter than similar legislation enacted elsewhere because it mandates payments even if publishers do not want them, because they get traffic via Google News.