More details have come to light regarding Eric Schmidt’s ‘French connection’ planned for this week.
It’s been revealed that the Google is so concerned about the possibility of France introducing a bill that would make it pay for content, that its executive chairman will meet with none other than President Francois Hollande himself.
SiliconANGLE reported late last week that Schmidt would be travelling to France to discuss the matter with Minster of Culture Aurelie Filippetti, following a row that saw Google threaten to exclude French sites from it search engine results entirely if Holland’s government went ahead with the bill.
According to AFP, Google sent letters to a number of French officials this month, outlining that it “could not accept” the move. It said that as a consequence of any bill being enacted, Google would take the decision not to reference any French websites any more.
Google further said that any law which forces it to pay media organizations for linking to its content would “threaten its very existence”.
The bill came about following calls from a number of French publishers that have been in a long-running dispute with Google. The French media organizations say that Google is taking advertising revenues away from them, and demand that the search engine giant pays them a share of its profits.
It’s not just the French who are demanding action either. Brazilian newspapers have already withdrawn their websites from Google News in protest, while in Germany, lawmakers have also drafted a bill that would force search engines to pay a commission for using content from German media sites.
The outcome of Google’s talks with the French President remains in question. While putting Google in its place might be popular at home, such a move would be unlikely to go down well from a political viewpoint.