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Google to boycott French media sites if country passes law requiring search engines to pay for news content

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Google News
Google News

Google is reportedly considering excluding French media sites from its search results if the country continues to move forward with a proposed law that would require search engines to pay for republishing sections of new reports. According to a letter obtained by AFP, Google said that it "cannot accept" France's proposed law and that "as a consequence [Google] would be required to no longer reference French sites." Furthermore, Google said that it "redirects four billion 'clicks' per month towards the Internet pages" and that the law's passage would "threaten [Google's] very existence."

The core of the issue is the French government's take on how Google makes advertising revenue through displaying headlines and the first few sentences of news articles in its search results. As ComputerWorld reported last month, some believe that the headline and first few lines of content are enough for many readers — thus depriving the site that originally posted the content of associated ad revenue for users who don't click through. While it's hard to say whether Google is serious about its threat or just posturing, there's no doubt the search giant has major concerns with France's proposed plan — we'll be looking to see what Google does if this law does in fact come to pass.

Thanks, Steve!