French media want Google to pay for content

September 11, 2012
A picture from May last year shows French newspapers' reports about the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Leading French newspaper publishers called on the government on Tuesday to adopt a law to force Internet search engines such as Google to pay for content.

Leading French newspaper publishers called on the government on Tuesday to adopt a law to force Internet search engines such as Google to pay for content.

In an interview published in the business daily Le Figaro, they said a law should impose a settlement in the long-running dispute with Google, which receives high volumes of advertising revenue from user searches for news contained on media websites.

The publisher of Le Nouvel Observateur weekly, Nathalie Collin, suggested that media would in exchange for a "fair payment" give up their objection that Google index their news content.

Google France told AFP that it believed such a law "would be harmful to the Internet, Internet users and news websites that benefit from a substantial traffic" sent to them by Google's search engine.

Newspapers around the world have seen their bottom line come under pressure as their revenues slide and online readers resist paying for access when so much content is free on the Internet.

Francis Morel, the publisher of the business daily Les Echos, said Google had a quasi-monopoly in Internet search in France which had led to it capturing the advertising market linked to such searches.

"You have to know that Google is today one of the top advertising agencies in France with more than a billion euros in sales," said Morel.

He noted however that Google, which has its European base in Ireland, declared only 41 million euros ($52.5 million) in revenue in France.

France's previous conservative-led government had warned Internet giants that it might crack down and adopt a law to tax online .

French lawmakers in 2011 rejected plans for a tax on online advertising revenues, fearing the project would hurt small local companies more than global Internet giants like , or .

Explore further: Sarkozy wants Internet giants to pay tax in France

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5 / 5 (1) Sep 11, 2012
Really? They have a problem with google indexing their news articles and displaying them when people search for something? No one reads news in googles result pages, if they want to read something they click a result and are redirected to the source. Google should just give french companies an opt out and watch as a month or two later they opt in again because their own traffic dropped.
5 / 5 (2) Sep 11, 2012
The newspapers are paying Associated Press and United Press International (among others) a lot of money to run their news stories and they just want to pass those costs on to the readers (they're already getting plenty from advertisers), who do so by buying into the newspaper subscription. Google is only an indexing service and list provider, and if anything, newspapers should be paying Google to include their news stories in the results pages, the way that internet entrepreneurs pay-per-click their way to the top of the results lists. I can't find a way to justify the newspapers demanding payment from Google for adding to their readership.
not rated yet Sep 12, 2012
Maybe Google should charge French media for searches.
not rated yet Sep 12, 2012
Obviously, some accomodation will have to be reached, or else we can all say goodbye to any legitimate journalism or news reporting, as these operations require revenue in order to pay for themselves.

That revenue used to be provided by hardcopy sales and subscriptions, along with advert revenue. Some of you may not have heard this --but those revenues are in sharp decline as everyone goes online to look for the news, where information wants to be free.

Sadly, as is true nearly always, you get what you pay for, and an available-for-free blogpost by @zEEKOU812 isn't likely to be winning a Pulitzer for investigative journalism, even if it does contain a few mangled factoids.
not rated yet Sep 12, 2012
I'd be concerned that deriving revenue from Google further lessens any incentive to produce quality journalism. Perhaps this would spawn a new industry of journalism optimizers.

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