walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

Perspective Taking, Failure To, Impacts Negotiations, Spanish Publisher Association edition

Not too long ago, Germany passed a law regarding snippets such as those included by Google News below headlines. The new law indicated that publishers could charge for those snippets. Google News indicated that they would no longer link to publishers who so charged. German publishers, who had gone to all the trouble to have that law passed, thought better.

So the Spanish publisher association, which had itself embedded (sort of) in their version of a similar law as the setter of fees and/or collector of same, made the charging for snippets "inalienable". Publishers could no longer back down in the face of pressure from Google. So now, Google Must Pay! Yay!

Google announced that they would be shutting down Google News in Spain, and, further, that Google News around the world would no longer link to any Spanish (not language -- country) publishers.

The Spanish publishers association went, wait! You can't do that! We'll make you stay!

https://www.thespainreport.com/13199/spanish-newspaper-publishers-association-now-asks-government-help-stop-google-news-closure/

"The Spanish Newspaper Publishers’ Association (AEDE) issued a statement last night saying that Google News was “not just the closure of another service given its dominant market position”, recognising that Google’s decision: “will undoubtedly have a negative impact on citizens and Spanish businesses”.

“Given the dominant position of Google (which in Spain controls almost all of the searches in the market and is an authentic gateway to the Internet), AEDE requires the intervention of Spanish and community authorities, and competition authorities, to effectively protect the rights of citizens and companies”."

What is happening?

Well, Google News says, we don't have ads on Google News so, lacking revenues, we can't exactly pay for these links. Sorry! Bye. The response to this argument has been interesting, because back in 2008, Marissa Mayer was asked what the value of Google News was to Google, for _exactly this reason_, and her answer (remember, this would be pre-crash, and the Eurozone hasn't exactly recovered from that crash yet) was about $100 million in search referral value. But that wasn't for Google News Spain -- that was for Google News worldwide. Also, pre-crash.

Here is a more recent Fortune commenter on the topic, which includes a link to the 2008 Marissa Mayer valuation:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2014/12/14/if-google-news-is-worth-100-million-then-why-cant-google-pay-the-newspaper-publishers/

I recognize that Google seems monolithic and ubiquitous, and therefore that it will be always and ever present. Coverage of the perks available to google programmers makes google seem fantastically, even infinitely wealthy. And that can make it very easy for groups such as AEDE to miscalculate when picking the host they intend to parasitically suckle on. If AEDE had contemplated the matter from Google's perspective, they would have anticipated this response -- even tho from all indications, Google has been relentlessly insistent on its position, they have not been passionate or aggressive rhetorically about that position. Because Google was calm, their commitment to their position was misunderstood by AEDE, and now AEDE has lost its host.

Oops.

But maybe not!

Maybe AEDE would rather preside over a shrinking backwater of publishers in Spain. A dominant position over a small group is desirable to many.

ETA: I'm still trying to understand this article.

http://www.periodistadigital.com/politica/gobierno/2014/11/14/tasa-google-canon-aede-soraya-saenz-de-santamaria-wert-lassalle-propiedad-intelectual.shtml

Apparently, google was expected to do its complaining at length in Euro courts NOT just up and walk away.

"Esto puede provocar problemas legales para su puesta en marcha, y fuentes del PP han explicado a Periodista Digital que es previsible que Google (principal, pero no único, afectado) acuda a los tribunales y empiece un largo proceso judicial que retrase su aplicación."

And the quasigovernmental organization wasn't there to stiffen publisher resolve post-Germany, it was there to preserve the status quo among newspapers pre-google news by limiting the ability of newspaper publishers to negotiate with google to improve their indexing position. If I understand this correctly, the establishment _really really really_ did not envision google walking away. I'm thinking there was a massive cultural communication breakdown, because the google side stayed way too calm and didn't issue ultimatums and used non-violent language. I'm real unimpressed with political rhetoric in Spain's newspapers, at least the online ones.

WSJ summary of the law and the current state of affairs:

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2014/12/11/spains-publishers-forced-to-charge-google-news/

http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2014/12/11/actualidad/1418306002_183035.html

So this is one of the major dailies, not some New Media crowd. And they are quoting people like Wert, who were important in passing the law. Wert seems to be arguing that altho the law goes into effect start of 2015, it won't _really_ do anything until the regulatory components are done, which would have involved a negotiating component including google. So Google left the game too early. I think this is a fair summation of what the Spanish (country, not language) side thinks happened. Which is really different from how the US tech community is thinking about things, in turn different from what some of the commenters on the US side who don't much like the tech giants are thinking about things.

I think it is also worth noting that when France was talking about a google tax/aggregator snippet tax, Schmidt and Hollande put together a 60 million Euro development fund (unclear what if anything has happened with this thing since, given that Hollande is out of office and Schmidt is no longer running things on the daily at the Goog), which was intended to help French publishers sort of enter the modern age. That headed off the French version of the tax. The German one went through under Brin's return to power, and under that setup, the publishers could and did concede, albeit unhappily. The Spanish solution was designed in a way to prevent publishers caving, and El Pais at least keeps emphasizing the French solution. I think maybe the Spanish crowd hasn't figured out they aren't dealing with Schmidt any more.
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