Google threatens to boycott French media sites

France is considering a “Google tax” to compensate from lost newspaper sales. The idea has the backing of France’s Minister of Culture and the Minister of Economy has a draft proposal in place.

Google’s response?

The search engine is threatening to simply stop indexing French media sites.

Via France Info.

I can see why France would be considering this if the widely held belief is that Google makes money from other people's content. Google's response has generally been "if you don't want us - block us".

That's a fair response too. However, what some content owners really want is to be in Google and make money from that. They don't want the black or white of the debate and would prefer to live in the gray.

This isn't ideal for the rest of us. It's a clear cut situation now - if want Google in they come in and if we block them, by our request, Google stays out. The robots.txt is assumed to be open if there's no command (same with meta). If Google stops indexing sites because of tax reasons then that clarity is lost. That worries me.

Hat tips to Laurent and Sam Harries. Picture Dennis Jarvis.

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