Google threatens French Media companies with Expulsion from Search Results
by Felix Jude West
Posted 7th November 2012
In September leading French newspaper publishers called for a law to be passed imposing a settlement in their long-running dispute with Google. This move would force Google and other search engines to share some of the revenue raised through advertising from user searches from news contained on media sites.
The French demand follows the German government approving the August draft of their own version of the law, forcing search engines to pay commissions to German media sites.
Google responded with a letter, sent to several French ministerial offices this month, said it “cannot accept” such a move and that the company would “as a consequence…be required to no longer reference French sites. They continued by saying that such a move on the part of the French would threaten Google’s “very existence”.
Although they redirect over four billion ‘clicks’ per month towards the internet pages of French media, (according to Google at least), the same media companies have difficulty benefitting from such links, as international interest online is rarely sparked by pay-for content, as there is so much free information is available on the internet, (that would hopefully excuse us though guys, because you just can’t put a price on the good shit).
Though Google France believes that such as move, “would be harmful to the internet”, the French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti told a parliamentary commission last month she would be in favour of the idea.
There does seem to be the question of whether a private business such as Google can, legally and morally, threaten a democratically-elected government of nations, or if the protectionist nature of such a move on the part of the French would jeopardise the foundation on which the internet is based.
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