Google Threatens Cutting Off French Media Sites In Protest Over Local Content Subsidy Law

Tyler Durden's picture

Two weeks ago we reported that the first unintended but perfectly expected consequence of the French socialist revolution, was the plunge in Paris luxury real estate prices as in the aftermath of Hollande's plan for a 75% millionaire tax, the wealthy promptly decided it is time to seek greener pastures and have launched a housing firesale, flooding the market with expensive (but getting cheaper by the day) housing. Now, we find that another consequence of Hollande's creeping government-enforced subsidies to uncompetitive sectors (coming soon to an insolvent country near you) may be none other than the French internet, as the world's biggest agregator of content, Google, is threatening to boycott French media websites if France demands it start paying for linked content.

From AFP:

Internet giant Google has threatened to exclude French media sites from its search results if France implements a proposed law forcing search engines to pay for content, according to a letter obtained by AFP.


The letter sent by Google to several ministerial offices this month said it "cannot accept" such a move and the company "as a consequence would be required to no longer reference French sites."


It said such a law, which would require Google to make payments to media sites for displaying links to their content, would "threaten (Google's) very existence".


It also noted that Google "redirects four billion 'clicks' per month towards the Internet pages" of French media.


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


Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti told a parliamentary commission this week that she was in favour of the idea, calling it "a tool that it seems important to me to develop."


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

One wonders how long until the same subsidies to the troubled US media industry are enacted in the US, and how soon until Google decides it will not service any sites in the US: an outcome any authoritarian state would absolutely be delighted by.

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Mercury's picture

Call their bluff.

Google is primarily about collecting information not helping you find stuff. They want all pipes open.

Rubicon's picture

French, frog, faggots.

Zer0head's picture

this is a tough one

on the one hand you have the embodiment of evil

and on the other hand you have evil incarnate

I say bring back  Madame Guillotine

economics9698's picture

"I say bring back  Madame Guillotine"

For the bankers. 


redpill's picture

Yeah but we're talking about French media sites. Who really gives a shit? The French government is the one bluffing, when their site hits fall off the table they'll change their mind about demanding Google do anything.

Sanksion's picture

Yep, you got it. The internet will be a better place without the french medias.

knukles's picture

Who the fuck cares?
Either for Google or The French Media?

Mercury's picture

Well their reasoning is certainly absurd on its face: it sounds like they want Google to pay for the privilege of directing traffic to French businesses.

But if the information Google accumulates by opperating in France is valuable enough they just might be willing to pay more than overhead to get it.

Water Is Wet's picture

"a law, which would require Google to make payments to media sites for displaying links to their content"

The article says the law would charge "search engines."  What is a "search engine"?  Tyler is a human search engine, and he provides links to sites.  Are they going to charge him too?  I guess the French don't recognize "fair use."

Harbanger's picture

Yeah, they would charge him.  It's not so much about collecting money as it is about keeping people in the dark.

XitSam's picture

Just wait until they pass the "Equalization of Information Act" where search engines will be required to deliver each media site an equal number of viewers. Le Figaro and Nice Matin get the same number of eyeballs.

larz's picture

Im confused is this article about Froggies or the future of Amerika??????

mjcOH1's picture

"Call their bluff."


Hollande has already floated the idea of a French government funded search engine (La Googette).   Unfortunately, all of the potential workers have preemptively gone on strike.

Abraxas's picture

Parasitic French government wants to leech off of a non-producing parasitic company.

Azannoth's picture

Can't ban free speech? No problem, we will just tax it

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

In related news that somehow escaped global media attention, on December 7 of this year the last two independent media outlets in Argentina will become government-owned, leaving Argentinians without a single independent mainstream media organization.

This is hot on the heels of Kirchner's latest edict, which made the purchase of gold illegal by Argentines, except for travel to countries where gold is legal tender. Which, of course, is no countries on the face of the earth.

In case you weren't watching, THAT edict was hot on the heels of making the purchasing of foreign currencies illegal, except for Argentines traveling overseas, in which case the foreign currency purchases are strictly limited and controlled, and foreign purchases using credit cards are severely restricted as well.

Argentina: bringing you tomorrow's news, today!

Azannoth's picture

In other news, from 01.01.2013 every German household will be required to pay a 18€ media charge(it's not even a tax officially) even if you don't have a TV or Radio (they will not even ask if you have any gear that can receive tv, radio or internet) just send you the bill.

That's 215€ per year amounting to ~10Billion of income for the German State media companies. Firms have to pay per employee when they work with a PC, because everybody loves to watch ZFD at phuking work!

LongSoupLine's picture

Corporate strong arm bitchez!

ThisIsBob's picture

Google is an evil,  information sucking, giant vampire squid.

unrulian's picture

Fine...then we should applaud their decision and every country on earth should follow and tax will google fair?

knukles's picture

One way or another it'll get passed along to us, the Peasantry in the New Versailles

ThisIsBob's picture

I see that the children at Google are permitted to surf the interwebs during working hours.  Well, take your little red arrows and stick them in your stock price.  Hardy, har, har.

Sanksion's picture

This law of taxing Google is a product of the rage of french journalists whose media suck, are heavily subsidized (the most expensive paper news per kg) and enjoy tax haven, and yet are of poor quality.

fuu's picture

"how soon until Google decides it will not service any sites in the US: an outcome any authoritarian state would absolutely be delighted by."

Pretty soon it will just be the internet according to Apple, Google, and Microsoft. In order to access any content you will need one of their devices and a data plan.

knukles's picture

And a gubamint issued and approved sign-on registration ID....

fuu's picture

Yep, and the sad thing is people will WANT to be saved this way because cyber-bullying is bad or some such bullshit.

unrulian's picture


i can't count the number of time i've heard (mainstream media) the internet is a dangerous place patrolled by pedophiles, bullies, cyber terrorists, identity thieves etc etc...we are being herded and our online freedoms that still exist are going to be taken away for our own safety...soon 

Zola's picture

"Please forgive them... For they do not know what they do..."

curly's picture

Fuck google. An opportunity for better more focused local company to provide better service and more targeted ads.

Rat Patrol's picture

Heh. Pro-socialist Google getting pissy about Socialist France getting a little in their pocket. Love it.


I like red on red warfare. If France just called it an internet tax, Google would have to suck it up or admit their own hypocrisy. Why won't you pay your fair share, Google?

XitSam's picture

What this tells us that that Google and France are not in the top level of the hierarchy.

dwdollar's picture

Google lost its credibility when it began cooperating with governments. I couldn't give a crap either way on this one.

Harbanger's picture

Governmnts can censor the internet or turn it off whenever they want.  Look at the battle between Google and China.

blunderdog's picture

     Governmnts can censor the internet or turn it off whenever they want.

In some places, sure, but not in the US.  They can issue a command, but they can't actually shut "the Internet" down.  It would be interesting to see if it worked or not.

falak pema's picture

the fight between big state and big oligarchy in all its splendour; Charybdis and Scylla, neither care about user benefits and system costs (innovation and economies of scale logic).

Taxes are just a way of REdistributing the profit, not a way of bringing down costs; this is bad Net management between a giant who can impose its search engine laws and government thats wants to piggy back on it, not to make the knowledge spread cheaper/faster/better for all around. 

Avoiding monopolies should be a strategic objective, but will the taxes be used to fund local search engines or more productive R& D for the french web? 

We are in that conundrum, and you can bet your last buck that the government has no strategy behind the tax knee jerk...

Ghordius's picture

...and so it will be discussed with the others in the Council for a "thoughtful, considered strategy". Hence Europa, bitchez.

seen before, done before - though on that matter I recently found out that some don't even know the concept of "anti-trust" anymore

falak pema's picture

hey interesting stand-off Ghordius in Brussels.

Hollande's Banking Union before Merkel's Budget Union. Both sticking to their guns!

THis is the thorn right now between North-South priorities.

What will Mutti do? She holds the cards financially, but Hollande has the advantage of no elections in 2013...Meanwhile the south burns.

rustymason's picture

"Don't make come over there again." - Julius C.

CrabGrassKila's picture

 When Eric Schmidt said in essence, if you post it, "It is MINE!!!" 

I realized people still think the way Hitler did is just fine and dandy.......

Go Larry, Go Eric.........

Hmmmm....ur so good....

q99x2's picture

I didn't know French had media sites.

The French did have a good revolution once but it took more than paying for Internet to get them there.

There are lots of people around that are the sons and daughters of WWII. Kids that were jealous, when they were growing up, of the parents war stories. They used to dress in their parents uniforms when they were kids and all that. Long live the revolution against bankster occupation. Nows your chance suckers.

ThisIsBob's picture

Rare vintage French army rifle for sale. Excellent condition.  Only dropped once.

blunderdog's picture

The French idea of taxing search-engines is ALMOST as stupid as some of the commentary here.

1) If you publish something but no one ever knows about it, you won't make any money.
2) If you don't want Google indexing your stuff, you can already prevent it.
3) The Internet *without* well-functioning search engines is far less useful than it is with them, no matter how anyone feels about any given search provider.
4) If you can't charge money for people to walk by and look at you on the street, you're not going to be able to collect money for them to do the online equivalent.  No one will ever pay.

alien-IQ's picture


Where's Reggie?


GOOG Oct 680 puts +3600% .. oh my.

jtg's picture

France is not the biggest threat to the internet. The biggest threat is the UN.

Why is no one paying any attention to the UN's plan to tax and control the internet???

Aegelis's picture

Taxing always goes down hill to the consumer.  You want to pay for your Google (or any engine you choose) searches?  How about 10 cents every time you visit or refresh Zero Hedge, 5 cents per comment left.  C'mon, where's your Socialist spirit?