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60M Euro Smooths Relations Between Google and French Publishers 61

Posted by timothy
from the throwing-money-at-the-problem dept.
New submitter Flozzin writes with news of some resolution to the long-standing dispute that some French publishers have had with Google for republishing snippets of news reports without sharing revenue earned from the ads run alongside. Now, reports the BBC, "Google has agreed to create a 60m euro ($82m; £52m) fund to help French media organisations improve their internet operations. It follows two months of negotiations after local news sites had demanded payment for the privilege of letting the search giant display their links. The French government had threatened to tax the revenue Google made from posting ads alongside the results."
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60M Euro Smooths Relations Between Google and French Publishers

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  • Get it right (Score:4, Informative)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@woCURIErld3.net minus physicist> on Saturday February 02, 2013 @06:52AM (#42770235) Homepage

    Google is not paying for the "privilege" of showing links to newspapers on its search engine. They are paying because they created Google News which uses snippets of those stories to create a valuable news web site that brings in significant advertising revenue and traffic to other Google services.

    The newspapers argument is that they built a news site for free using other people's content. If you go to the Google search page it doesn't tell you the news, you have to know it already in order to search for it. Google News gives you what the newspapers consider valuable information for free, using their content as a source. Additionally they are claiming that the click-through rates are very low because the multiple headlines and snippets often give people as much information as they want.

    • Re:Get it right (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 02, 2013 @07:49AM (#42770399)

      No they don't. This is Google News:
      https://news.google.com/ [google.com]
      That's not giving away the content, in any case. Each teaser is shorter than a slashdot summary.

      And you don't already have to know the news to search for it, you just go to news.google.com

      Seriously, how can someone be so anxious to post bogus info as if they're "clarifying"?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by LordKronos (470910)

        No they don't. This is Google News:
        https://news.google.com/ [google.com]
        That's not giving away the content, in any case. Each teaser is shorter than a slashdot summary.

        And you don't already have to know the news to search for it, you just go to news.google.com

        Seriously, how can someone be so anxious to post bogus info as if they're "clarifying"?

        Are you kidding me? Come on, be serious. How about this one, on Google News now:

        Twitter: Hackers hit 250000 accounts
        USA TODAY - 5 minutes ago
        Twitter hacked on the heels of several high-profile cyberattacks on U.S. media giants. Twitter logo. TheTwitter logo is displayed at the entrance of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.

        Now that I know WHERE the twitter logo is displayed, what more could I possibly want out of the article?

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Did you even look at your own link? I see a news web site with adverts and links to other Google services, where all of the content is aggregated from other web sites. Presumably those web sites paid journalists to gather that news and report it, at their own expense.

        The length of the summary is not the main issue. The issue is, as I clearly stated and you failed to comprehend, that Google created a popular news web site without making any contribution towards the creation of the content on it.

        And you don't already have to know the news to search for it, you just go to news.google.com

        /Facepalm

        PROT

        • by russotto (537200)

          Did you even look at your own link? I see a news web site with adverts and links to other Google services

          You see advertisements on news.google.com? I think you've got some malware, because there aren't any.

          (There are other Google links)

          • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

            You think the links at the top to other Google services are put there by malware? The analytics and click tracking that all goes back to Google was put there by a virus of some kind?

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Yes, Google has a probability somebody'll click through to other Google services, and newspapers get higher probability than that (if you visit news.google, you're probably already aware of many Google services) somebody will visit them, and users get a probability of learning about new site they didn't hear about before and visit a story they wouldn't be aware of otherwise.

              So, where's OMG GOOGLE ONLY MAKES MONEY ON OTHERS AND PROVIDES NOTHING OF VALUE IN EXCHANGE?

    • It's the classic win-win situation. Thanks to radios etc... some otherwise average singers get enough publicity to get a fair number of people to purchase their music, and radios have also to pay royalties for the same music. Thanks to Google news some otherwise ignored news sites (i.e. besides Le Monde, Figaro and Libé) get enough publicity to get a fair number of people to read/know the news and, now, Google has also to pay fees to broadcast the news.
    • Europeans: You Americans are all about greed, you have no moral.
      Americans: Here is a few million Euros.
      Europeans: You Americans your all right.

  • One thing, I'm still not really clear on is whether they just "linked" to content or did they display those nifty "summary boxes" or whatever Google calls them when you do a search? (If you search for a person's name, it's now a short profile usually from Wikipedia with a photo)

    If it's the summery (and I use that term loosely) then, I can understand. After all, most people just skim the summary while skipping most of the content unless it really grabs their attention, so they profited by advertising next t

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @07:50AM (#42770405) Homepage

      I get the feeling Google paid this because the revenue from the adverts was more than 60m...not because the newspapers "won" in court.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I get the feeling Google paid this because the revenue from the adverts was more than 60m...not because the newspapers "won" in court.

        They're more likely just paying Danegeld [wikipedia.org].

      • I'd say more like extorted by the French government. They threatened to tax Google even harder for this unless they settled with the newspapers. Honestly I'd just say screw the papers. France's answer to anything they don't like is to tax it, and it is already costing them in a very bad way. Google should stand with everybody else who has been threatened with taxation in France. De-list the papers and eat the tax, until the papers finally petition the government to stop when their revenue dries up.

        Even some

    • by alen (225700)

      I use bing now just for the free Xbox points
      If google starts lobotomizing their search ill have to start using bing full time

    • by grcumb (781340)

      If it's the summery (and I use that term loosely)....

      Indeed you do.

  • If you don't like to have Google display your stuff. These French newspapers just do not seem to get the idea about how the Internet works. Please only publish your shite on your LAN if you don't want people to read it.
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      There's also this thing called "robots.txt"...

    • by Solandri (704621)
      I imagine that's what the 60 million Euro are for. To hire consultants to tell these newspaper companies about robots.txt, or to implement it for them if they really don't want their articles showing up on news.google.com
  • I wonder - if they let google pay for it instead of plainly rejecting that their newspaper contents are displayed there - is that not a terribly stupid move? To me this is like introducing a middleman with a near-monopoly. Does this then also include the right to push these news snippets on android devices? I mean, i thought that the publisher should have learde the lesson from dealing with Apple in that respect.

    So will the newspapers haver better card when negotiating the next time or worse?

  • Gutless. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@NOsPAM.mac.com> on Saturday February 02, 2013 @07:41AM (#42770369) Journal

    Google should have just told them "you don't want us showing your links? Ok, have it your way", and dropped them into oblivion.

    -jcr

    • Re:Gutless. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Frankie70 (803801) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @07:55AM (#42770421)

      Google should have just told them "you don't want us showing your links? Ok, have it your way", and dropped them into oblivion.

      Fact that Google didn't shows that Google needs them more than they need Google.

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Fact that Google didn't shows that Google needs them more than they need Google.

        I'm guessing you don't generally understand how things work in places like France or Quebec. Whine, then cry, then whine some more. And when things look bleak, demand a government bailout to protect your culture.

        • by Frankie70 (803801)

          Yes, but the point here is that Google needed them far more than they needed Google. Hence Google agreed to pay whatever was required.

    • Re:Gutless. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @08:25AM (#42770489)

      Actually, I'm surprised that the French are not insulted by the move. Google is not admitting any guilt about "stealing content". Google is saying that French media companies need "development aid", like a Internet Third World country. In other words, Google is not the problem, the French media organizations are, because they have yet to understand this newfangled Internet thingie.

      So I wonder where this money will actually be spent . . . ? First a few big lavish kick-off parties for the heads of the media companies and politicians. Then, fund a few big studies at French research institutes, like INRIA.

      Poof! That 60 € million is gone, and nobody is the wiser.

      • The French? Insulted by money? Have you met many frogs? Studied any frog history?

      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        what French company getting subventions "I'm shocked, shocked to find that this is going on".

        The only difference it isn't a minster helping a CEO both of whom went to ENA

        will be interesting to see if the daily mail, news international, RE, Person and GMG also line up in front of google saying "can i have some"
    • by Rockoon (1252108)
      Then how would Google profit?

      All of you people seem to forget that Google is doing this for profit. Godwin'ing this, its like saying you just dont want to sell to the Jews because fuck them. Thats simply not how business operates.. thats how someone too emotionally involved operates.

      Google agreed to this because the numbers still show a profit.
      • On the other hand, Google could have reasonably decided that if they start paying every site they index, that would put then out of business. Better to give up French news than signal they are ready to pay people for the privilege of sending them traffic. So paying off the French newspapers could increase profit in they very short term, but make business impossible in the long term. That would be dumb to set such a precedent, of course.

        Also, t's not just the direct effect on Google. As someone else
  • You never get rid of the Frog.

    Poor show, Google. You had a chance to stare these dinosaurs down, and instead you chose to subsidise their legacy industry by giving in to their blackmail demands.

    That is the way it's done in Europe, and in socialist France in particular, but I had hoped that Google of all entities would be an agent for changing that busted system.

    • by kh31d4r (2591021)
      Yeah, stupid Europeans... At least you don't have these kind of issues in glorious America!
    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Wtf is a froggeld? Google, ironically, was of no use.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's called Danegeld. I have no idea why he censored himself and said "frog".

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Because this time it's the frogs demanding it, not the danes.

  • Face-saving trifle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ConfusedVorlon (657247) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @09:04AM (#42770579) Homepage

    Seems to me that the newspapers didn't have a leg to stand on, and Google gave them a face-saving concession to let everyone walk away with their heads held high.

    Google doesn't really care about the $60m, it's a fairly small sum, doesn't set a terrible precedent, and saves them the time and effort of fighting this battle.

    Meanwhile, the government has achieved a concession and can walk away without an embarrassing loss of face.

    Finally, the newspapers can opt out of google news using their robots.txt if they want to (as they always could).

    • I don't have a leg to stand on in my dispute with Google. I want my 60 million dollars, its a fairly small sum, doesn't set a terrible precedent, and will save them the time of fighting this battle with me over twitter.

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