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Google Threatens French Media Ban 419

another random user writes in with a BBC story about Google's displeasure with proposed French plans to make search engines pay for content. "Google has threatened to exclude French media sites from search results if France goes ahead with plans to make search engines pay for content. In a letter sent to several ministerial offices, Google said such a law 'would threaten its very existence.' 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 favors the idea. She told a parliamentary commission it was 'a tool that it seems important to me to develop.'"
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Google Threatens French Media Ban

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19, 2012 @03:11AM (#41702463)

    Just put a complete paywall up over your news. Then you don't have to worry about anyone ever reading it again.

    • by youn ( 1516637 )

      they can even keep things free with robots exclusion files

  • by Crypto Gnome ( 651401 ) on Friday October 19, 2012 @03:14AM (#41702479) Homepage Journal
    Instituting a law that makes search-engines PAY content providers for click-through links from searches will obviously result in ALL links to media being dropped from search results.

    The phrase you're looking for is NATURAL CONSEQUENCES.

    Personally I think The Big G should have immediately dropped all search results leading to French Media Sites with a HUGE banner saying "this is what THAT LAW requires us to do".
    • by GrpA ( 691294 ) on Friday October 19, 2012 @03:30AM (#41702559)

      No, a better idea would be to still have them, except when you click on the link, it takes you to a page where it asks for your credit card details before taking you to the link, and identifies the person responsible for the law.

      *that* would be poetic...


    • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Friday October 19, 2012 @04:14AM (#41702789) Journal
      The Washington Post was absolutely livid about the Drudge Report "deep linking" to stories on its Web site in the late 90s. It tried blocking him at first, but he'd find ways around it. Eventually they realized he was driving a huge amount of traffic to the site, which resulted in advertising dollars for them. But they were so used to being "the only game in town" in Washington DC (The Washington Times doesn't count; it's a church-funded instrument that has never operated in the black founded in 1982 by a guy who claimed to be the messiah) that they had this mentality that they drove traffic places, not the other way around. Eventually they recognized that they had no choice but to look the other way while Drudge continued deep linking, but a few people on staff still grumbled about him being a parasite profiting off of their work.

      France and the U.S. have very different ideas about the media and intellectual property (for example, publishers in France set book prices and the bookstores can't discount them). There's a reason bookstores aren't dying there like they are in the states -- in fact, physical book sales are up []. TFA in this case doesn't specify whether the complaint is about Google scraping entire pages from the site (for previews) or just displaying the brief summary, but that would seem to be where a line might need to be drawn. If a Google user can read an entire news story by squinting at the preview on Google's site without ever visiting the publisher that paid for the content to be written, I could see the French having an issue with that. But if their complaint is that you can search the text of their articles, see a brief summary of the article that directs you to the publisher's site, they're going to need to wake up and realize that Google (and similar search engines) are driving visitors and euros to them without having to make payments directly.

      Would a restaurant complain about trademark infringement if the city put up signs with their logo directing people to the restaurant? Well, maybe in France.
      • Wow, just... wow. I'm no Libertarian, but that article made me ill. Subsidies and government mandated price-fixing? Why don't they get on with it and make libraries illegal and require everyone to buy a fucking book a week?
    • Couldn't Google or other search engines opt into placing a pay wall themselves for searches on french news sites?

      I mean they could offer the results as a paid service to comply with French law, do the banner as you mentioned, and just pass the costs onto the searcher for that specific information.

  • If I were Google I'd wait for the law to become effective and then switch off France altogether. Not allowing other search engines to take over beforehand but still serving the French right.

    The finest form of Internet cleansing. Everyone's a winner.
  • Google isn't reading the newssites. The general public is reading the newssites.

    Google is helping them by sending more readers. They really think that they get that service for free?

    Are they really that dense?

    I expect Google to flip that switch off when the law is passed.

    • by lightknight ( 213164 ) on Friday October 19, 2012 @03:28AM (#41702545) Homepage

      I see you are still young, padawan.

      Yes, they would cut their noses off to spite their faces. Happens all the time.

      Ever have a boss who denied a reasonable request that the rest of the team needed fulfilled before continuing work, if only to exercise his / her arbitrary powers of decision? For some people, it's less about the money, and more about the power. Why serve in heaven when you can rule in hell?

    • by Idaho ( 12907 )

      Of course they're not that dense.

      This is all about getting the government to help you put your hand in the next guy's pocket.

    • Google isn't reading the newssites. The general public is reading the newssites.

      Google is helping them by sending more readers. They really think that they get that service for free?

      Are they really that dense?

      I expect Google to flip that switch off when the law is passed.

      Yes. Or at least, they have a "politician solution", let me amplify.
      the content providers talking heads go to their IT department and say "Google is making a killing selling ads on news searches in which we're in. I want some of that money coming our way!" ..."Well, we could make a free abstract, and put the articles behind a paywall." ...."No. if the abstract is good, the article won't be bought, and if it's lousy, the article won't be bought. And I want to sell Yearly subscriptions, not case-by-case ar

    • Google is making money from indexing their sites. The newspapers believe that without them, Google will be substantially less competitive, and so feel they can extort Google for a cut if the money it makes from their information.

      Perhaps they're wrong, so Google can stop indexing the newspapers. If, however, indexing French newspapers is considered an important requirement for web users, and their rivals offer that functionality, then Google will suffer and their rival will benefit.

      This is just a pissing
  • they'll soon come crawling back...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19, 2012 @03:23AM (#41702511)

    Please stop saying "the French" and say "the French government" instead.

    Being governed by incompetent morons doesn't make us so.

    • by lxs ( 131946 )

      Who voted for these particular incompetent morons into power? Your incompetent morons are a product of your society and culture, just as the incompetent morons that rule me are a product of my society and culture. As horrible as it seems, they are a part of us.

      • Have you missed the part where this laws doesn't exist and it's just a bunch of companies trying to get the government to write it? And another company trying to get the government not to write it. What does it have to do yet with the incompetent morons who were voted into power? We can talk again once the law actually exists (which won't happen).
    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Friday October 19, 2012 @04:56AM (#41702947)

      "Every country has the government it deserves (Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite) "

      -- Joseph de Maistre

  • De Gaulle (Score:5, Funny)

    by surfcow ( 169572 ) on Friday October 19, 2012 @03:40AM (#41702611) Homepage

    "How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?"
      -- Charles De Gaulle

  • robots.txt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FatLittleMonkey ( 1341387 ) on Friday October 19, 2012 @03:47AM (#41702663)

    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

      User-agent: *
      Disallow: /

      They didn't say they didn't want spiders. Nor did they say they didn't want to be on search engines, they said they wanted to be paid for having their content displayed (even if it is just a sniplet) on another site. Your proposal does not match the circumstances in the slightest.

    • Actually, it's:

      User-agent: Googlebot-News
      Disallow: /

      That way, you get to stay in the search index, while being excluded from news. (source [])

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Friday October 19, 2012 @03:50AM (#41702685) Homepage

    remove French news paper content. Seriously just set up a donate link.... WE NEED TO SEE THIS. I got plenty of beer, dope and popcorn ready....

  • Excuse me, but that's so freaking stupid, that blows all scales of measurement. What do these guys think, how will anyone find their content, if it won't be accessible by search engines? Do they want to go back to pre-search engine times with sites aggregating content sites into categories like a phone book? Go, bury yourselves under a rock and stay there.
  • What is the name of that strange beast that runs in ever decreasing circles until it runs up it's own backside, from which safe retreat it hurls abuse and calumny upon it's enemies...Is it a French beast?

  • The French newspapers seem to be forgetting that Google provides them with a valuable service. If it weren't for Google, no one would know that the newspaper had the content in question. Sure, the user can directly type in the URI of the newspaper to get there and see if they have the content, but they can do this regardless of Google indexing them or not.

  • Revenue streams (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:22PM (#41710675)

    So Google males money by selling advertising on a site that provides links to other sites that can then gain revenue by selling advertising on their site. Now they want to charge Google for listing their site? What's next? Charging to link sites? Not a far step considering that a search result is just a list of links.

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