Google News shutting down in Spain
Google News is shutting down in Spain from 16 December, following the introduction of a new law demanding payment for showing snippets of news publishers' content. Reuters

Google has announced that it will close the Spanish version of its news website after a new law was passed which would see Google charged for showing every single headline on the news aggregation service.

The new law, introduced to protect the intellectual property of publishers, would mean that Google News would become unsustainable as the search giant does not show any ads on the service meaning it makes no money from it directly.

Richard Gingras, head of Google News, explained the decision in a blog post on Wednesday:

This new legislation requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not. As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable. So it's with real sadness that on 16 December (before the new law comes into effect in January) we'll remove Spanish publishers from Google News, and close Google News in Spain.

Gingras added that all publishers are allowed to opt in or opt out of having their content displayed on the aggregation service.

The Spanish case may be the most extreme example of publishers and law-makers pushing back against Google News, but in other countries similar questions have been raised.

In early 2013, German publishers claimed Google should pay them for displaying snippets of their content, but the group has now accepted that the service is valuable enough in driving traffic to their sites that Google can be exempted.

Axel Springer, the country's biggest news publisher, have planned to to block Google from using snippets of articles from its newspapers, but decided not to go ahead as the experiment had caused traffic to its sites to plunge.

The new laws - dubbed Google Tax - will come into effect in Spain on 1 January 2015, though there is no indication of how much Google would have had to pay publishers for using their content.