Google will remove news previews from search results in France, to avoid paying publishers

Google will remove news previews from search results in France, to avoid paying publishers
Intellectual property

Google has opted to no longer display excerpts of news articles from European publishers in its search results in France, in order to avoid paying the publishers, as required by new EU copyright rules, according to Politico

Article 15 of the EU’s copyright directive allows publishers to request payment from online platforms that display their content. France was the first nation to incorporate the new copyright policies into national law, and publishers were hoping to earn more from Google under the law. 

Some publishers in France have estimated that the sector loses €250 to €320 million annually due to Facebook and Google’s control of the online advertising market. 

Supporters of the law had hoped that Google would be forced to pay a “link tax” to new publishers. But instead of paying the publishers to compensate for the loss, Google is choosing to forgo using the news previews and thumbnail images in its links. Links and “very short extracts” are not covered by the law, and a licensing agreement will not be needed to use these. 

The company’s vice president of news, Richard Gringas, announced the decision last week. 

“When the French law comes into force, we will not show preview content in France for a European news publication unless the publisher has taken steps to tell us that’s what they want,” the tech firm said in a blog post. 

Google says that opting-in to allow previews would benefit the publishing sector, which they say receives 8 billion link clicks monthly from Google searches. The company also says that paying for news content would go against its policies, since it would undermine the impartiality of search results. 

When Spain passed a similar law in 2014, the company shut down Google News there. After Germany passed another similar law, publishers found that their web traffic dropped dramatically without Google previews, and many decided to allow the search engine to use the snippets for free. 

Other European nations have until 2021 to incorporate the EU rules into their national laws. 

“We believe that Search should operate on the basis of relevance and quality, not commercial relationships. That’s why we don’t accept payment from anyone to be included in organic search results and we don’t pay for the links or preview content included in search results.”

Image by Hebi B. from Pixabay