Google has threatened to exclude French media websites from search results as a protest against an upcoming French law. What has the mega company so riled? The law would force search engines to shell out cold hard cash for content. Google responded that it "cannot accept" such a law.
Google sent a letter stating as much to multiple ministry offices around France, stating that if the law was passed, the company "as a consequence would be required to no longer reference French sites." It also stated that such a model - requiring Google to pay to display links - would threaten the company's existence.
Also in the letter was the statement that Google "redirects four billion clicks per month towards the Internet pages [of French media]." Obviously, having to pay to display those links would put a serious damper in Google's finances, and not displaying the links will put a serious damper on those websites' traffic numbers. According to Google, "Such a law would be harmful to the Internet."
This comes after a call last month by a French newspaper to require search engines to pay for the links they display. The argument is that Google makes substantial revenue from advertisements from searches on media websites. This issue continues to rise as newspapers and magazines see decreased revenue from print editions. France's Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti stated that she is in favor of the proposed law.
[via France 24]