French Newsmakers Push Government to Make Search Engines Pay for Content
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/23/2012 -- French newspaper links may be removed from Google search results, if a new proposal from the French government goes into effect. Leading French papers have been lobbying their government to force search engines to pay a fee for each link to French newspaper articles. The pieces would require the ubiquitous search engine to pay for each link displayed originating from a news outlet based in the country.
The battle between Google and other european nations is the latest in a string of content-related showdowns. Earlier in 2012, Germany consider drafting legislation for a similar proposition of requiring fees from search engines linking to newspaper content. The newspapers say that search engines are taking advantage of their content and reaping the benefits of advertising opportunities at their expense.
The push in France for search-providers to pay copyright fees for newspaper content used in link began last month. Google executives attended talks with the French government last week in Paris to discuss the impasse. A letter obtained by Agence France Presse quoted Google as saying that such legislation and fees would “threaten its very existence” and that, should the proposal become law, they would be forced to cease referencing French media in all searches.
The letter, which was later made available on Google’s Europe Blog, claims that Google redirected over 4 billion clicks per month to French sites. The company compared making search providers pay fees for directing customers to website to “asking a taxi driver to pay for taking a customer to a restaurant.” It claimed the new law would limit public access to information.
French culture minister, Aurelie Filippetti, took umbrage at the tone of the letter, telling the Agence France Presse, “You don’t deal with a democratically elected government with threats.” Filippetti is in favor of imposing the fees.
News editor of Le Nouvel Observateur Laurent Joffrin said Google was using “straightforward blackmail” toward the French government and accused the American company of using its power to dictate its own terms without making any contribution “to the French community”.
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