Alphabet to reopen Google News in Spain after government changes rules

AAlphabet dds comments and context

MADRID, November 3 (Reuters)Alphabet GOOGL.O plans to reopen its Google News service in Spain early next year after the government passed new legislation that allows media to negotiate directly with the tech giant, the company said on Wednesday.

The service closed in 2014 after the government passed a rule requiring Alphabet and other news aggregators to pay collective license fees to republish news headlines or snippets.

“From the start of next year, Google News will provide links to useful and relevant news articles,” Fuencisla Clemares, country manager of Google Spain, wrote on a company blog.

“Over the next few months, we will work with publishers to reach agreements that cover their rights under the new law,” he added.

The Spanish government on Tuesday approved a European Union copyright directive that allows third-party online news platforms to negotiate directly with content providers.

European legislation, which must be adopted by all member states, requires platforms such as Google, Facebook FB.O and others to share the revenue with the publishers, but it also removes the collective fees and allows them to enter into individual or group agreements with the publishers.

The Google News debate pitted the traditional media, which supported the old system, against a new generation of online outlets, which expected more revenue from direct deals with Alphabet and other platforms than from their share of collective fees. .

Arsenio Escolar, president of the CLABE Publishers Association, which brings together around 1,000 primarily online media, including leading digital brands such as El Espanol and Eldiario.es, said he was satisfied with the new legislation.

The AMI media association, which mainly represents the old guard of traditional media and was in favor of maintaining the old system, declined to comment on the government’s decision.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro and Emma Pinedo; Editing by Nathan Allen and Keith Weir)

((Inti.Landauro@thomsonreuters.com;))

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