Frustrated by their inability to make more of their own money from the Internet, some newspaper and magazine publishers across the pond want to turn the tables on Google. Because they provide the material on which the Web giant is generating revenue, they contend that Google should pay them for links instead of the other way around. The New York Times has reported that a bill working its way through the German Parliament would enable publishers to collect a royalty fee from Google and other search engines and news “aggregators” when they display excerpts from news articles alongside links to newspaper and magazine websites. France and Italy are considering similar legislation.
But Google, like the 500-pound gorilla at the bargaining table, is standing its ground, scoffing at the parasite metaphors and insisting it’s a two-way street. The Economist added, “Google says it directs four billion clicks to news websites every month; perhaps as much as three-quarters of Google News users go on to read the full article. And newspapers can add a tag to their pages so that they do not appear in Google News.”
NYT wrote, “Already facing possible sanctions from European antitrust and privacy regulators, Google says that having to pay for links could threaten its ‘very existence.’ And it warned that the demand for money could backfire. If Google had to pay up, it ‘would consequently be forced to stop indexing the French sites,’ Google wrote in a ‘position paper’ it sent to the French government. Because 30 percent to 40 percent of the traffic on French news sites comes from Google’s links, the company’s threat is not an idle one.”