and doesn’t charge us for it.
American capitalism bumped up against European socialism last week.
The EU’s governments cried “Unfair!” and began writing laws against Google because the search engine is earning billions indexing European content that we find and use for free.
One law is already halfway through the German Parliament.
France invited Google in for a friendly chat last week and threatened them with a law in France, too. Why?
The Europeans are not taking the plundering of their news organizations lightly. It’s happening here, too, but without an American whimper.
Italy, Austria and Switzerland are also “studying” the legislations to protect their own media companies. So what does the EU want?
They want their share of the $38billion
in annual Google revenue.
“Without us you have nothing.” the media giants sniffed.
So Google reminded them they can always disconnect themselves from search if they prefer, something they have always been able to do. But not turning up in a Google search is suicide and Google knows it.
“Why should we pay to give you this added reach and exposure at no cost to you?” Google asks.
So last week they informed the French government they just might have to stop indexing the French news sites if it turns out they are forced to pay royalties.
Without payment from somewhere, reliable news collapses in this new market of free, but I‘ll bet Google doesn’t budge.
So one of the ground rules of commercial internet linking is being sorted out in Europe and you can bet we’ll be affected. Stay tuned.