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Google in fresh French tax threat


Google – the internet colossus – has said it will put a block on listing French media websites from its search results if the government ploughs ahead with a new tax law that will force search engines to pay for editorial content.

According to the AFP, French ministers received a letter from Google saying it could not accept the imposition of such a tax and would “no longer reference French sites” if it went ahead with the plans.

Google insist that any law forcing it to pay for such content would threaten its very existence.

The world’s most popular search engine said it has redirected some four billion 'clicks' per month to the French media’s internet pages.

But French ministers, who want to support their country’s beleaguered creative industries, have taken umbrage at what some have perceived as threats from the internet giant.

The long-running spat moved up a gear last month when a number of top French newspaper publishers urged the government to enact a law compelling Google and other search engines to share some of the growing advertising-generated revenue streams from news searches.

Their plea follows hot on the heels of the German government’s recent approval of draft legislation compelling search engines to pay commissions to German media websites.

And in 2011, Google temporarily stopped listing Belgian press stories, following similar cries for payment from its media.

EU competition authorities are also engaged in an anti-trust investigation into whether the Google has abused its dominant market position.

The internet giant has, however, made several suggestions to address concerns about preferential treatment in its search results, the respect of copyrights and advertising restrictions.

If the EU competition authorities are not satisfied with Google’s measures, they could issue fines of up to 10% of it sales.

Published 22 October 2012

/SOURCE: CCH Online

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