by Timothy Geigner

Filed Under:
france, liability, links, news, payment


Google To French Media: We May Have To Cut You Off

from the sacrebleu dept

If you're like me, you may have thought that France was simply a repository for cheese-eating surrender-monkeys. It turns out that's not true. They also have a wonderful court system that doesn't want to understand the digital world. That same French court system also managed to make a complete mockery of HADOPI, all while hysterically referring to their actions as "justice".

But French lawmakers now have a new target in their crosshairs: Google. Lawmakers are reportedly considering legislation that will force search engines to pay for sending French newspapers readers.
French newspaper publishers have been pushing for the law, saying it is unfair that Google receives advertising revenue from searches for news.
French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti also favours the idea.
This may be my favorite stance of all time. It's unfair that Google, a search engine, receives revenue on searches, i.e. their business, and it should instead go to news organizations that are not in the business of search but still receive the traffic. I am sure there's a word out there that properly describes the stupidity of this stance, but so far all the ones I'm coming up with involve the kind of language Mike keeps telling me I'm not allowed to use on Techdirt (which is [censored], by the way (oh, come on, really?)).

Google, because they don't exist in the same non-logic-ungrateful-verse, and after apparently spending some time reading our comments section and picking up on some suggestions there, is now letting France know that if they go through with the law, they'll simply exclude French media organizations from search results. In addition, in a letter to lawmakers, they added:
Google said such a law "would threaten its very existence".

Google France had said earlier that the plan "would be harmful to the internet, internet users and news websites that benefit from substantial traffic" that comes via Google's search engine. It said it redirected four billion clicks to French media pages each month.
Which leaves France with an interesting choice. Continue on with their proposed legislative silliness and forfeit all the traffic Google sends French newspapers via search results, or retreat from their position, thus proving my ignorant American stereotyping of them correct. Your move, France!

Reader Comments

The First Word

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  1. icon
    Laroquod (profile), 19 Oct 2012 @ 9:38am

    The problem with the whole 'cheese eating surrender monkey' is not that its offensive, it's that it dragged an irrelevant cultural battle into the issue, thereby derailing all the commentary (even winning the top 'blessed' spot below the article) and entirely blunting the effectiveness of the article in highlighting its point.

    Want to be an effective writer? Don't do this sort of thing. I am not offended, just unimpressed.

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