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France: Regulator accuses Google of flouting EU copyright law

 |  October 21, 2019

France has accused American internet giant Google of ignoring “the spirit and the letter” of a Europe-wide copyright law aimed at giving publishers a bigger cut of the economic benefit from online news, reported the Los Angeles Times

French President Emmanuel Macron and the country’s lawmakers say they are now looking to sanction Google for adopting what they consider strongarm tactics to avoid paying to publish excerpts from European publications on Google News.

Google responded to the law’s passage by announcing it would stop displaying previews of news articles and use only a headline and link. The company announced French publishers could still ask for snippets to be published, but it would not pay for the right. Google claims it sends 8 billion visitors a month to publishers’ sites in Europe alone.

“Publishers have always been able to decide whether their content is available to be found in Google Search or Google News,” Google wrote in a blog post. “The Internet has created more choice and diversity in news than ever before. With so many options, it can be hard for consumers to find the news they are interested in. And for all types of publishers … it’s important to make sure readers can find their content.”

Google’s announcement brought an angry riposte from Macron, who told journalists on Wednesday, October 16, he would be asking Europe’s competition authorities to examine the move and to “engage in any possible action as soon as possible.”

France is the first European country to put the European Union’s Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market on its statute books, taking effect at the end of October. The European Parliament adopted the directive in March, giving member states two years to pass legislation upholding its requirements.

France’s law requires Google to pay what has been called a “link tax” — effectively a license to display snippets of press articles on Google News.

Full Content: LA Times

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