Google Agrees to Pay French Publishers 'Link Tax'
It's been a difficult few months for Google and their relations with the worlds publishers, as the media have taken umbridge at what they perceive to be Google stealing content in order to provide users with the latest news, via Google News.
At the vanguard of this charge have been the French. Last year French publishers threatened legal action against Google for using a few lines from an article in their Google News listings. Publishers felt that users were less likely to read the full article if they had access to this short snippet. All of which doesn't say much for their faith in the article, nor it seems their understanding of the web environment.
Nevertheless, they appear to have achieved a victory, with Google announcing this week that they will pay publishers $60 million.
The payment comes via a Digital Publishing Innovation Fund that aims to support transformative French digital publishing initiatives.
In a blog post earlier today, Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, said that he and President Hollande of France have worked together on two new initiatives to increase revenues for French publishers.
“First, Google has agreed to create a €60 million Digital Publishing Innovation Fund to help support transformative digital publishing initiatives for French readers,” says Schmidt. “Second, Google will deepen our partnership with French publishers to help increase their online revenues using our advertising technology.”
Schmidt went on to say:
“This exciting announcement builds on the commitments we made in 2011 to increase our investment in France—including our Cultural Institute in Paris to help preserve amazing cultural treasures such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. These agreements show that through business and technology partnerships we can help stimulate digital innovation for the benefit of consumers, our partners and the wider web.”
So it basically seems a bit of a fudge by Google to help French publishers move with the times and avoid the ridiculous link tax that had been proposed to shelter publishers from the nasty effects of the Internet.