Google has avoided getting hit with a “link tax” in France by agreeing to create a €60 million “Digital Publishing Innovation Fund” to essentially help French media adapt to the online age.
The settlement, announced today in France by President Francois Hollande and Google’s Eric Schmidt — and announced on Google’s blog — ends several months of debate over France’s plan to charge Google for linking to French news content.
When the French law was first proposed, Google threatened to just stop linking to French newspaper websites, saying that the country’s publishers would miss out on four billion clicks per month — including one billion from Google News.
The two sides met in late October and appeared to both dig in their heels. President Hollande said he wanted to see an agreement in place by the end of the year — a deadline that was missed by a month.
The second part of today’s settlement, according to Google, is that the company will “deepen our partnership with French publishers to help increase their online revenues using our advertising technology.”