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Google Settles With French Publishers

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First Posted: Feb 02, 2013 08:20 PM EST
French President Francois Hollande (R) and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt sign documents at the Elysee Palace in Paris February 1, 2013.

French President Francois Hollande (R) and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt sign documents at the Elysee Palace in Paris February 1, 2013. Credit:Reuters

To settle a dispute with French newspaper publishers, Google in a statement Friday (Feb. 1) announced that it is paying them EUR60 million ($82 million). The agreement settles an ongoing feud between Google and newspaper companies in France, on whether Google should pay the publishers for linking their content on the Web.

Google intends to aid the French newspapers to transition smoothly to digital media, as newspapers and magazines are becoming less demand and print advertising is moving to online platforms. The newspapers agree with the conditions of the arrangement and will cease demanding Google to pay them per click for their online content.

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Google admits that it was on the verge or removing all French newspapers from its index, had not they reached an agreement soon. In an impromptu press conference on Friday, the Executive Chairman of Google and France's President Francois Hollande revealed the news about the settlement. This global event, it is the conclusion of an agreement between Google - represented here by its President - and a group of press was able to federate to conduct these negotiations. This event is not only that there was a negotiation but an agreement.", said Hollande in a statement.  

The agreement is beneficial to all involved, as part of the agreement of Google working with the publishers to assist the companies with the benefits of Google's online services, is that the French newspapers may allow Google to sell ads its Web sites. Google isn't just blindly giving money away to the media publishing companies. The publications will propose business models that detail online revenue ideas or that help to transition smoothly into the world of digital media.

"The object of this fund is not to finance ailing newspapers, but to help them migrate better to the digital world as fast as possible," said Nathalie Collin, head of the news-media coalition.Last fall French publishers pushed for new Web link copyright laws to be created in France. The dispute between Google and the newspaper publishers began to get out of hand, as the law would gear towards search engines paying for linking to the newspapers' content. In October Hollande agreed to obtain a mediator to settle the dispute after meeting with Schmidt, but made it clear that if an agreement was not met between Google and the newspaper publishers by the end of the year, he would consider a copyright law.

This is not the first time that Google has been in disputes with overseas newspaper publishers. Google went through a similar dispute with Belgian newspapers and reached a six figure settlement agreement in December. Currently in Germany, lawmakers are in discussions about requiring payment from search engines to legally pay publishers. "Our search engine generates billions of clicks each month, and our advertising solutions - in which we have invested billions of dollars - help them make money from that traffic," said Schmidt in the official Google blog, about the deal.

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