As has happened elsewhere, France, Belgium and Germany come quickly to mind, Spanish newspaper editors have been arguing for long that Google is taking unfair advantage of them. They say that Google is using their contents on Google News without any retribution and have long being lobbying the Spanish government on it. Now it seems like they are going to get away with it.
Last February Canon AEDE, Spanish for the Google Tax pushed by AEDE, the Spanish newspaper association that represents the largest newspapers, got included by surprise in the Governments’ Intelectual Property Law Reform Proposal. This reform was on it’s own already very controversial and had been much criticized by the Spanish internet community.
Last week (July 22nd 2014), the proposal was passed in the Congreso de los Diputados (low chamber in the Spanish two chamber system) and it will most likely be passed in the Senate in September and turned into law.
What does the Canon AEDE say?
Once you read the actual proposal, it becomes quite clear that Spanish newspaper editors have learned from the German experience. There the government passed a similar law that forced Google to pay newspaper editors if they were included in Google News. When approved, Google excluded all newspaper editors from Google News and asked anyone wanting to be listed to reapply explicitly declaring that they renounced to be compensated. All newspaper did reapply not wanting to miss out on the traffic it generates. Google won.
The Spanish law proposal declares that editors cannot refuse the use of “non-significant fragments of their articles” by third parties. However, it creates a levy on such use to compensate editors and declares it aninalienable right (derecho irrenunciable).