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French government wants Google to pay French newspapers for the privilege of linking to them

The French government has been causing a lot of headaches in Mountain View, California recently. The government believes it is unfair that Google (GOOG) receives advertising revenue from searches for news and may force the Internet giant to pay for the privilege of linking to its news sites. Google has threatened to remove all French news sites from its index, however, potentially eliminating 4 billion views per year. Eric Schmidt, the company’s chairman, is now reportedly planning on traveling to Paris next week to discuss the issue, according to Quartz. Fleur Pellerin, France’s minister of technology, said that if Google can reach an agreement with French newspaper publishers, legislation would not be necessary.

“We don’t want to appear as a country that is anti-Google,” Pellerin told Quartz. “Obviously Google is a wonderful tool and Google is a major actor of the digital ecosystem. What I would suggest — and what I’m going to suggest to Google and to the press — is to start negotiating, to start discussions for maybe three months, and try to find an agreement on a negotiated basis. And if they don’t, well we’ll see.”

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