Google News closed in Spain at the end of 2014 in response to a law according to which it would have to pay a compulsory collective license to publish headlines and disseminate links.
Now, more than six years later, Alphabet, Google’s mother, is negotiating individual license agreements with a sector of the Spanish press that could allow the news service to resume in the country.
Reuters reports, who mentions three sources close to the matter, without giving details of them.
The fact is that in June Spain will implement the 2019 European Union copyright directive, and according to that directive Google, Facebook and others should share income with publishers, something similar to what has happened in Australia. The government now appears to be able to allow companies to negotiate individual deals with content providers.
In this way, Google News will only return to Spain if publishers have the right to sign individual agreements under a new law, said a spokeswoman for Google Spain, adding that a paid license should not be mandatory.
It is important to note that EU rules do not oblige online platforms to pay for links posted on their news site by publishers, which is precisely what happened in Australia, so in Europe the situation is slightly different, more flexible arrangements can be made.
The new service would be called “Google News Showcase”, and details will only be released after the new legislation.
Some Spanish publishers represented by the AMI media association, such as Unidad Editorial, which owns El Mundo, are in favor of maintaining the current system that grants publishers the right to collect license fees through a collective management entity. Others, including CLABE, which represents 162 partners with around 1,000 media outlets, say they can come to a better deal on their own and should be free to choose.