Boycott Called Against Spanish Newspaper Publishers' Association Titles In Protest Of New Copyright Law

from the defending-the-glue dept

Last week we reported on the Spanish newspaper publishers’ association (AEDE) begging the Spanish government and EU to stop Google News shutting down as it realizes how much its members depend on Google for traffic to newspaper sites. To bring home just how stupid the new Spanish copyright law is, the online site is now calling for a boycott of all titles owned by AEDE (original in Spanish):

Are you too against the new copyright law and the AEDE tax on media and aggregators? The first step you can take right now is to begin a boycott of AEDE titles: don’t visit them, don’t link to them, don’t give them traffic or relevance.

The article also recommends installing add-ons for the Chrome and Firefox browsers that automatically block all links to AEDE titles, and provides lists of international, national and regional alternatives.

Even if it is well supported, the boycott on its own probably wouldn’t have much effect, but combined with the devastating loss of traffic that Google News closing will cause, it will certainly add to the pressure on the AEDE publishers. Just as importantly, it will also show that whatever the Spanish government may think, the country’s new copyright law is not just about squeezing money from a rich US company, but also represents a serious threat to the basic glue that holds the Web together — the hypertext link.

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Comments on “Boycott Called Against Spanish Newspaper Publishers' Association Titles In Protest Of New Copyright Law”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The conservative government in Madrid is batshit crazy. When that is said, the publishing industry has been cooperating with and recieving support from the governments. With the internets rising share and particularly other publishers fall in share, that symbiosis is under pressure.

The publishers are claiming, with some right, that Google is eating a lot of their advertisement income from both being a search engine, but just as much from its heavy seat as advertisement agency leader. That is a big part of the blame GOOG campaigns – the interruption/shortcirquiting of their monopoly gig on providing advertisement. Advertisement has been heavily local driven in the past and the economy has therefore been taxed locally, so the internationalisation is hurting countries with too heavily an entrenched system since the outside competition will be a disruptive “innovation”.

The law in Spain is a symptom of the conservative regressive thought of economic protectionism. While “protectionism” in a very broad sense is not bad in every issue, think ISDS, the chosen strategy seems like what it is: An emu hiding its head in the sand and thereafter thinking it is invisible…

David says:

Uh, quite the boycott...

don’t link to them, don’t give them traffic or relevance.

You are not allowed to do that without recompensation anyway. That’s the whole point of the law.

Consequently, only websites of newspaper household names will get visitors.

That was the main point of pushing through this law: giving the big established players a leg up against the comeuppancy by turning the clock back 40 years for everyone.

Unfortunately, only in Spain. I foresee a boom in foreign language proficiency for people from Spain since news from Latin America is at best going to be moderately interesting for Spanish speakers.

It will be strike against Catalan, however, since Catalan is not really spoken much outside of Spain.

Ninja (profile) says:

I wonder what happens with the snippets of the pages you see on Google searches (not the News product). If these are not covered by the law (which it seems to be) then this boycott can do massive damage. If these snippets ARE covered by the law I can feel such publication vanishing from the internet quite soon. If Google drops them due to the impeding costs then smaller players will surely follow soon enough.

kenichi tanaka (profile) says:

Even if AEDE and the news publishers wanted to revoke the law, other news publishers have been reporting on this and noted the futility of such a move. It was stated that it would takes weeks, if not months, to reschedule another vote in order to repeal or amend the new copyright law.

Not only that, but AEDE’s instance that Spain authorities intervene and stop Google News from closing is also outside the purview of Spanish legislators or the government. Just like “The Independent” called it, it’s not Google’s responsibility to save the Spanish news media just as it’s not the responsibility of Spanish authorities to force Google to continue operating in their country.


If the AEDE hadn’t been so gung-ho about this new copyright law, this would never have gotten this far. One important view that techdirt never included in its article, and it took a lot of hard digging to find this information, that AEDE capitulated to the Spanish government in order to get their copyright law passed.

Apparently, Spanish authorities weren’t happy about all of the negative press the government had been receiving from the Spanish media of late. Lawmakers agreed to give the AEDE their draconian copyright law if news publishers toned their criticism of the government down. When Spanish news publishers agreed, they gave the news media their restrictive copyright law. The corruption of the Spanish government was now applied to the Spanish news media who started publishing good news stories about the Spanish government and stopped publishing negative news articles about the government.

I don’t remember what news publisher I saw the article on but I’ll try to find it. But, Spain didn’t agree to the new copyright law until the news publishers started falling in line with the Spanish government. This is the intended result.

AlsoAnonymous says:

If the AEDE newspapers are now totally biased because of their agreement to publish only good views of government figures, why would anyone recognizing this waste time reading AEDE newspapers?

To find objective facts and useful assessments, AEDE has forced Spanish readers to start looking elsewhere. By trading favors with government officials, they have removed themselves as credible sources of information.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

To find objective facts and useful assessments, AEDE has forced Spanish readers to start looking elsewhere.

Do you now understand why AEDE has bargained with their politicians to put a stop to the availability of a simple Google search for the sake of looking elsewhere?

The law is working as intended. AEDE promises not to provide facts casting a bad light on politicians, and the politicians make sure that people won’t find that information elsewhere easily.

AlsoAnonymous says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well, the politicians can succeed in crippling all internal Spanish sources of information. But they simultaneously encourage all publishers outside Spain, who have the enviable “elsewhere” status.

AEDE members have made themselves harder to find. Their goal of killing smaller local competition might initially improve AEDE numbers with diverted readers — but only if this is not offset by the loss of their own readers. Otherwise, it is a net, possibly permanent, loss for the AEDE, which should become apparent to them very soon.

The corrupt politicians do appear to be seeking to suppress information on corruption published by now-more-compliant AEDE members. They haven’t thought this through, either. Since this move is so obvious, many Spanish readers seeking accurate information will learn to find it anywhere except in the AEDE newspapers. This may cause a rebound to the smaller newspapers within Spain. The news suppression will also encourage permanent sources outside Spain that will be much less likely to trade favors with corrupt politicians.

Anonymous Coward says:

isn’t it strange how everyone hates Google, blaming it for their losses in income and wants it to pay them money when they cant adapt or adopt to the modern era! then when Google decides to pack up and ship out, like i believe it should, because if it stays there will be something else done so it can be the centre of attention again, those who want it to pay out for nothing suddenly want it to stay because it stops them from making anything they were to start with!! Spain seems as if it is being run completely by ‘the family’ because the laws being enacted try to make everything and everyone, outside of the entertainment industries, criminals!!

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s my opinion that they indeed want Google to go away. The mainstream publications have made a deal with the government not to publish critical journalism, and it’s in the interest of both the mainstream as well as the government that it’s not easy for the populace to find alternative news sources informing about government corruption and antidemocratic proceedings.

To complement this, there is currently a law being passed that makes it illegal to organize protests in the Internet or post unsettling information about the government.

Google is just collateral. What this is about is preventing politically competent and educated citizens.

kenichi tanaka (profile) says:

I’m still trying to find that article but the only reason that Spain gave the AEDE that restrictive copyright law was only on the condition that news publishers capitulate to Spain’s demands.

From what I had read, and I wish I had saved the link, Spain’s news publishers had been hammering Spain’s government of late and the bad press regarding the government corruption was taking its toll. They wanted the news media to fall in line and to stop the negative reporting. That’s when this Faustian deal was struck and the media stopped their negative reporting, just like we have seen over the past six years in regards to Democrats and President Obama here in the United States.

AEDE got their Christmas wish and Spain intervened on AEDE’s behalf and passed that law. However, Google called their bluff and shut down Google news and blacklisted news publishers from the Google News service. The AEDE certainly has some big balls to demand Spain intervene, AGAIN, and stop Google’s withdrawal. But, one thing that got me to thinking, is that Google probably wasn’t even hosting the servers to Google News (Spain) in the country itself. They probably just had the domain name registered with a Spanish registrar.

AEDE should have realized that Google would not capitulate to AEDE like the AEDE capitulated to Spain’s government.

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