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60M Euro Smooths Relations Between Google and French Publishers

timothy posted about a year ago | from the throwing-money-at-the-problem dept.

Google 61

New submitter Flozzin writes with news of some resolution to the long-standing dispute that some French publishers have had with Google for republishing snippets of news reports without sharing revenue earned from the ads run alongside. Now, reports the BBC, "Google has agreed to create a 60m euro ($82m; £52m) fund to help French media organisations improve their internet operations. It follows two months of negotiations after local news sites had demanded payment for the privilege of letting the search giant display their links. The French government had threatened to tax the revenue Google made from posting ads alongside the results."

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Get it right (4, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#42770235)

Google is not paying for the "privilege" of showing links to newspapers on its search engine. They are paying because they created Google News which uses snippets of those stories to create a valuable news web site that brings in significant advertising revenue and traffic to other Google services.

The newspapers argument is that they built a news site for free using other people's content. If you go to the Google search page it doesn't tell you the news, you have to know it already in order to search for it. Google News gives you what the newspapers consider valuable information for free, using their content as a source. Additionally they are claiming that the click-through rates are very low because the multiple headlines and snippets often give people as much information as they want.

Re:Get it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770341)

Well, newspapers always loved telling the whole story (however slanted) in the title and first paragraph, guess it finally bit them in the ass. Who knows, maybe the consumers will finally find out what decent journalism is for the first time since the invetion of the printing press.

Re:Get it right (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770399)

No they don't. This is Google News:
https://news.google.com/ [google.com]
That's not giving away the content, in any case. Each teaser is shorter than a slashdot summary.

And you don't already have to know the news to search for it, you just go to news.google.com

Seriously, how can someone be so anxious to post bogus info as if they're "clarifying"?

Re:Get it right (2, Funny)

LordKronos (470910) | about a year ago | (#42770449)

No they don't. This is Google News:
https://news.google.com/ [google.com]
That's not giving away the content, in any case. Each teaser is shorter than a slashdot summary.

And you don't already have to know the news to search for it, you just go to news.google.com

Seriously, how can someone be so anxious to post bogus info as if they're "clarifying"?

Are you kidding me? Come on, be serious. How about this one, on Google News now:

Twitter: Hackers hit 250000 accounts
USA TODAY - 5 minutes ago
Twitter hacked on the heels of several high-profile cyberattacks on U.S. media giants. Twitter logo. TheTwitter logo is displayed at the entrance of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.

Now that I know WHERE the twitter logo is displayed, what more could I possibly want out of the article?

If that is all there was (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770567)

then why is it worth a penny?

Re:Get it right (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#42771715)

Did you even look at your own link? I see a news web site with adverts and links to other Google services, where all of the content is aggregated from other web sites. Presumably those web sites paid journalists to gather that news and report it, at their own expense.

The length of the summary is not the main issue. The issue is, as I clearly stated and you failed to comprehend, that Google created a popular news web site without making any contribution towards the creation of the content on it.

And you don't already have to know the news to search for it, you just go to news.google.com

/Facepalm

PROTIP: Never go full retard.

Re:Get it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42771851)

"It doesn't matter you can't get any news from that site, it's a news site!" Logic, how does it work?

You're almost as full retard as Brasilian newspapers who first went all "Google diverts our traffic to itself!" and then "We blocked Google, and it was OK, our traffic dropped only 5% after we instated the block!"

Yeah, Google diverted negative 5% of Brasil newspaper traffic to itself with its headline+single sentence informative news site.

Also, nope, search that connects you and some site is completely useless and effortless service which doesn't deserve any recognition neither from you, nor from publisher.

Follow your PROTIP, would you?

Re:Get it right (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year ago | (#42771863)

Did you even look at your own link? I see a news web site with adverts and links to other Google services

You see advertisements on news.google.com? I think you've got some malware, because there aren't any.

(There are other Google links)

Re:Get it right (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#42772009)

You think the links at the top to other Google services are put there by malware? The analytics and click tracking that all goes back to Google was put there by a virus of some kind?

Re:Get it right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42772045)

Yes, Google has a probability somebody'll click through to other Google services, and newspapers get higher probability than that (if you visit news.google, you're probably already aware of many Google services) somebody will visit them, and users get a probability of learning about new site they didn't hear about before and visit a story they wouldn't be aware of otherwise.

So, where's OMG GOOGLE ONLY MAKES MONEY ON OTHERS AND PROVIDES NOTHING OF VALUE IN EXCHANGE?

Re:Get it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42779399)

Angry weaboo manchild, you should probably stick to fapping to anime while crying.

Re:Get it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770439)

I like it how this bullshit which is easily verifiable by simply visiting Google News gets modded up.

Do try and get all your news from there. I dare you. Seriously, if a headline and random opener sentence is "news site" for you, you must be pretty disinterested in life.

Re:Get it right (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year ago | (#42770503)

It's the classic win-win situation. Thanks to radios etc... some otherwise average singers get enough publicity to get a fair number of people to purchase their music, and radios have also to pay royalties for the same music. Thanks to Google news some otherwise ignored news sites (i.e. besides Le Monde, Figaro and Libé) get enough publicity to get a fair number of people to read/know the news and, now, Google has also to pay fees to broadcast the news.

Re:Get it right (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#42770855)

Europeans: You Americans are all about greed, you have no moral.
Americans: Here is a few million Euros.
Europeans: You Americans your all right.

Re:Get it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770875)

If the snippit and headline contains as much information as the full article, then you should blame the writers for writting such shitty, articles devoid of content.

Re:Get it right (1)

Sudline (1552111) | about a year and a half ago | (#42777393)

I can write a single sentence that provides all the info user need. For example: Worldwide market share of android is now xx%.

Re:Get it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42779363)

Creepy ignorant gaijin.

Was it just links? (1)

eksith (2776419) | about a year ago | (#42770249)

One thing, I'm still not really clear on is whether they just "linked" to content or did they display those nifty "summary boxes" or whatever Google calls them when you do a search? (If you search for a person's name, it's now a short profile usually from Wikipedia with a photo)

If it's the summery (and I use that term loosely) then, I can understand. After all, most people just skim the summary while skipping most of the content unless it really grabs their attention, so they profited by advertising next to it without kicking back.

But if it's the former, I would have LOVED to see Google simply drop these people from the search ranks. In fact if their only crime was just displaying links, I'd rather they drop them now after payment saying : "We're very sorry we linked to your content without your permission. Now that we've paid you, we'll be sure never to repeat our mistake. We're really sorry!".

The compromise allows it to avoid paying an ongoing licensing fee.

You don't say.

Re:Was it just links? (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42770405)

I get the feeling Google paid this because the revenue from the adverts was more than 60m...not because the newspapers "won" in court.

Danegeld (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770693)

I get the feeling Google paid this because the revenue from the adverts was more than 60m...not because the newspapers "won" in court.

They're more likely just paying Danegeld [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Was it just links? (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#42773241)

I'd say more like extorted by the French government. They threatened to tax Google even harder for this unless they settled with the newspapers. Honestly I'd just say screw the papers. France's answer to anything they don't like is to tax it, and it is already costing them in a very bad way. Google should stand with everybody else who has been threatened with taxation in France. De-list the papers and eat the tax, until the papers finally petition the government to stop when their revenue dries up.

Even somebody who is an ardent supporter of high taxes should recognize what is wrong with this, basically the government extorting them to pay tribute to the newspapers. This is akin to Canada's tax on e.g. CD-R's because they can be used to copy music, even if the consumer has no intent on doing so, and yet in spite of paying for said music forcibly through taxation, they still aren't allowed to copy it anyways.

Re:Was it just links? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42775275)

That would be illegal monopolization of the "search results without french news sources" market.

Re:Was it just links? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770543)

"We're very sorry we linked to your content without your permission. Now that we've paid you, we'll be sure never to repeat our mistake. We're really sorry!".

After which Google news becomes a barren wasteland.

Re:Was it just links? (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#42770807)

I use bing now just for the free Xbox points
If google starts lobotomizing their search ill have to start using bing full time

Re:Was it just links? (1)

grcumb (781340) | about a year and a half ago | (#42776837)

If it's the summery (and I use that term loosely)....

Indeed you do.

robots.txt (1)

futhermocker (2667575) | about a year ago | (#42770305)

If you don't like to have Google display your stuff. These French newspapers just do not seem to get the idea about how the Internet works. Please only publish your shite on your LAN if you don't want people to read it.

Re:robots.txt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770319)

Well, apparently they scrounged EUR 60m from Google, despite slashbots repeatedly saying this was not possible. So maybe these French newspapers know better how the internet works than the random slashbot?

Re:robots.txt (1)

Flozzin (626330) | about a year and a half ago | (#42775701)

No, we have a decent handle on how the internet works. We just have no handle on how to run a business.

Re:robots.txt (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42770389)

There's also this thing called "robots.txt"...

Re:robots.txt (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770427)

Crap argument. robots.txt is not about permission to copy and republish, but about permission to crawl and index.

As for hurr Google should just have stopped showing them in search results!" responses, why would Google want to devalue their product instead of simply understanding that [i]it takes effort to produce content and it's obnoxious to make profit by doing little more than taking another person's work[/i]?

Modern America has a price for everything and the value of nothing. It is an increasingly bland service economy which worries more about bandwidth and storage space than the creativity and knowledge which are actually stored and transmitted.

crawling and indexing ARE copying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770571)

So why the hell are you making out they're something else?

Re:robots.txt (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42770851)

Crap argument. robots.txt is not about permission to copy and republish, but about permission to crawl and index.

That is a complete bullshit argument, not surprising to see one from an anonymous coward like yourself with such bad ideas. Who gives a flying fuck who can crawl and index? The argument is over republishing of portions of content, without which search engines cannot function. If your argument is that we should break the internet, it's an exceptionally bad one and not just stupid and wrong as we have already established.

Re:robots.txt (1)

Solandri (704621) | about a year and a half ago | (#42775153)

I imagine that's what the 60 million Euro are for. To hire consultants to tell these newspaper companies about robots.txt, or to implement it for them if they really don't want their articles showing up on news.google.com

Wait for the next negotiation....... (1)

drolli (522659) | about a year ago | (#42770357)

I wonder - if they let google pay for it instead of plainly rejecting that their newspaper contents are displayed there - is that not a terribly stupid move? To me this is like introducing a middleman with a near-monopoly. Does this then also include the right to push these news snippets on android devices? I mean, i thought that the publisher should have learde the lesson from dealing with Apple in that respect.

So will the newspapers haver better card when negotiating the next time or worse?

Gutless. (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about a year ago | (#42770369)

Google should have just told them "you don't want us showing your links? Ok, have it your way", and dropped them into oblivion.

-jcr

Re:Gutless. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770417)

Sounds like you are advocating a cannibal state, where people/companies that do the hard work get thrown to the dogs.

Part of Google's business model is finding information you made and using it in a way that bypasses the information creator from receiving any benefit from the work (while Google reaps the rewards).

This is the middle-man (Google) reaping most of the rewards but not actually performing much of the work. This isn't black and white, there are many colors of the rainbow here --- not simple.

Re:Gutless. (3, Insightful)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a year ago | (#42770421)

Google should have just told them "you don't want us showing your links? Ok, have it your way", and dropped them into oblivion.

Fact that Google didn't shows that Google needs them more than they need Google.

Re:Gutless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770493)

Or it shows that French publishers have more influence in the French government than Google. Not surprising IMHO.

Re:Gutless. (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#42770637)

The French government wouldn't have been relevant if Google just dropped the complaining newspapers from Google News. But they didn't want to exit the French market for news aggregation.

Re:Gutless. (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a year and a half ago | (#42775109)

Yes. Google needed the French Market for news aggregation much more than the French news sites needed Google to index them.

Re:Gutless. (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a year ago | (#42771633)

Why is that relevant? If Google didn't need the French newspapers more than the newspapers needed them, then Google can stop indexing Fresh newspapers and be over with it. It doesn't matter who has more influence.

Re:Gutless. (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#42772473)

Fact that Google didn't shows that Google needs them more than they need Google.

I'm guessing you don't generally understand how things work in places like France or Quebec. Whine, then cry, then whine some more. And when things look bleak, demand a government bailout to protect your culture.

Re:Gutless. (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a year and a half ago | (#42775123)

Yes, but the point here is that Google needed them far more than they needed Google. Hence Google agreed to pay whatever was required.

Re:Gutless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42779975)

Some money is always more than no money.
To be honest the newspapers need google more, luckily for them Google is quite happy to take less money than they were.

No google means less readers and less drastically needed money for the news papers. No google means oh we earn some value greater than 60m euros less from Europe this year. Which one sounds more 'needy'.

Re:Gutless. (3, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#42770489)

Actually, I'm surprised that the French are not insulted by the move. Google is not admitting any guilt about "stealing content". Google is saying that French media companies need "development aid", like a Internet Third World country. In other words, Google is not the problem, the French media organizations are, because they have yet to understand this newfangled Internet thingie.

So I wonder where this money will actually be spent . . . ? First a few big lavish kick-off parties for the heads of the media companies and politicians. Then, fund a few big studies at French research institutes, like INRIA.

Poof! That 60 € million is gone, and nobody is the wiser.

Re:Gutless. (0)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#42771241)

The French? Insulted by money? Have you met many frogs? Studied any frog history?

Re:Gutless. (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year ago | (#42772155)

what French company getting subventions "I'm shocked, shocked to find that this is going on".

The only difference it isn't a minster helping a CEO both of whom went to ENA

will be interesting to see if the daily mail, news international, RE, Person and GMG also line up in front of google saying "can i have some"

Re:Gutless. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#42770599)

Then how would Google profit?

All of you people seem to forget that Google is doing this for profit. Godwin'ing this, its like saying you just dont want to sell to the Jews because fuck them. Thats simply not how business operates.. thats how someone too emotionally involved operates.

Google agreed to this because the numbers still show a profit.

Better to lose French news than pay everyone (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#42771457)

On the other hand, Google could have reasonably decided that if they start paying every site they index, that would put then out of business. Better to give up French news than signal they are ready to pay people for the privilege of sending them traffic. So paying off the French newspapers could increase profit in they very short term, but make business impossible in the long term. That would be dumb to set such a precedent, of course.

Also, t's not just the direct effect on Google. As someone else pointed out, sites like Slashdot post even longer summaries. Under such precedent, Slashdot can't have any more summaries without paying the site they link to. That is / would be bad for the internet, and Google knows that what's bad for the internet is bad for Google.

Re:Better to lose French news than pay everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42772833)

I fear your comment about Slashdot is irrelevant.

My understanding of the argument was not about Google showing snippets of information or links to the French newspapers. The dispute was about the revenue made from ads included right by the newspaper data.

Given Internet revenue is mainly obtained with ads nowadays, this is effectively taking the only revenue that the journalist could/should have received from your viewing of their work.
Note : The other option I see for the journalists to be paid would be for newspapers to use subscription and publish in "members only" sections (but, in my opinion, this would be going against the current market trend i.e. suicidal).

Nobody was yelling at Google for referencing data. They were asking that it would share the money generated by people reading the data with the workers actually creating said data.

Re:Better to lose French news than pay everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42772845)

I fear your comment is largely factually incorrect.

a) Google News doesn't show ads
b) /. shows ads
c) When you follow links from Google News, you come to newspapers' sites, which show ads.
d) There's nothing to actually read at Google News

Google was invented by nerds that pay attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42771977)

The tighter Google's grip the more AdSense clients slip through their fingers.

Once you pay the Froggeld (0)

Rogerborg (306625) | about a year ago | (#42770465)

You never get rid of the Frog.

Poor show, Google. You had a chance to stare these dinosaurs down, and instead you chose to subsidise their legacy industry by giving in to their blackmail demands.

That is the way it's done in Europe, and in socialist France in particular, but I had hoped that Google of all entities would be an agent for changing that busted system.

Re:Once you pay the Froggeld (1)

kh31d4r (2591021) | about a year ago | (#42770499)

Yeah, stupid Europeans... At least you don't have these kind of issues in glorious America!

Re:Once you pay the Froggeld (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#42770537)

Wtf is a froggeld? Google, ironically, was of no use.

Re:Once you pay the Froggeld (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770557)

It's called Danegeld. I have no idea why he censored himself and said "frog".

Re:Once you pay the Froggeld (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770639)

Because this time it's the frogs demanding it, not the danes.

Next up: Dice, Inc.? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770547)

a) /. summaries are 3-4 times longer and more detailed than Google's - and mostly made by copy-pasting too
b) "Didn't RTFA", i.e. lack of click-throughs is basically slashdotter's credo
c) Google doesn't make money on those snippets directly - /. has ads, subscriptions AND links to affiliate sites
d) Sure, it's far from Google's top spot in Alexa ranking, but #1980 in the world is still a huge number of visitors

So, pay up?

Face-saving trifle (5, Insightful)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | about a year ago | (#42770579)

Seems to me that the newspapers didn't have a leg to stand on, and Google gave them a face-saving concession to let everyone walk away with their heads held high.

Google doesn't really care about the $60m, it's a fairly small sum, doesn't set a terrible precedent, and saves them the time and effort of fighting this battle.

Meanwhile, the government has achieved a concession and can walk away without an embarrassing loss of face.

Finally, the newspapers can opt out of google news using their robots.txt if they want to (as they always could).

Re:Face-saving trifle (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year ago | (#42772043)

I don't have a leg to stand on in my dispute with Google. I want my 60 million dollars, its a fairly small sum, doesn't set a terrible precedent, and will save them the time of fighting this battle with me over twitter.

Re:Face-saving trifle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42776247)

Do you have a large EU government behind you while the EU Competition Commissioner is on a witch hunt after you, with backing from Microsoft shills? No? Sorry, move along then.

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