As part of a protest to France’s plan to charge search engines over content, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has threatened to stop indexing French websites.
According to the AFP, the search engine giant recently sent the French government a letter, which mentioned the warning, but it also included the defense of their position. Apparently newspaper publishers in France have a different view, and that’s why they urged the French government to propose the law.
Aurelie Filippeti, French Culture Minister, likes the idea. She mentioned that it could be “a tool that it seems important to me to develop”
No word yet on whether the lawmakers will go ahead with the law, but it may be in their best interest to consider Google’s warning. The popular search engine brings in about four billion clicks per month to French media. Google France explained that this law “would be harmful to the Internet, Internet users, and news websites that benefit from substantial traffic.”
It’s understandable that French media wants to make it a little harder for Google and other websites, which deliver news for free, but this move could also backfire on them. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is one of the largest search engines in the world and many publications rely on them to deliver traffic to their website. If Google was to stop linking to French websites (which includes online publications), they would lose much of their traffic. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is a powerhouse that you don’t want to mess with.
France previously tried to create a tax law on advertising revenue, but quickly ditched the plan over concerns of harming smaller businesses.
Ovum research analyst Adrian Drury said, “France has a track record of enacting laws to protect its local media interest that seem out of step with the conventional wisdom in other markets. The question is whether by returning a search result, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is infringing the copyright of a site. The publishers will continue to contest this, but the general consensus is that it is not. “
Hopefully the French government and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) will come up with an agreement.