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