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Friday, October 19, 2012
Google Threatens To Exclude French Web sites From Search

Google will kick all the French internet out of its search engine results unless French government drop a proposed law forcing search engines to pay for content.

A letter sent by Google to several French 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."

According to the proposed law, French news publishers associations will require search engines to license all of the content that they help users to find across the web.

Google said such a law would "threaten its very existence," adding that Google "redirects four billion 'clicks' per month towards the Internet pages" of French media.

"The web has led to an explosion of content creation, by both professional and citizen journalists. So it's not a secret that we think a law like the one proposed in France and Germany would be very damaging to the internet. We have said so publicly for three years," Google said in a blog post.

"We have always been and remain committed to collaborate with French Publishers associations as they experiment and develop sustainable economic models on the Internet," said Olivier Esper, Director of Public Policy, Google France.

Media companies are concerned as they cannot easily money directly from the web traffic they receive from Google's search engines, as online users do not pay for access to the news content. In addition, newspapers have seen their print advertising revenues slide as more people read news online.

Last August, German government also approved a draft legislation that would force search engines to pay commissions to German media websites.

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