Google's €60m link tax fund is just the start of what we need, say publishers

The European Publishers Council wants more to be done to help media companies collect from companies that reuse and monetise their content.

Google's efforts to pacify French media companies over the so-called 'link tax' issue don't appear to have calmed European publishers.

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Google earlier this month set up a €60m fund to help French publishers make more money from their online offerings, heading off threats by the French government to bring in a law obliging Google to recompense media companies whose content it linked to through Google News. It also came to a similar arrangement with Belgian publishers last year .

However, according to the European Publishers' Council (EPC) — a trade body that represents publishers in 14 European countries — work still remains to ensure media companies are fairly paid by aggregators.

"The type of deal arranged between Google and a group of French publishers does not address the continuing problem of unauthorised reuse and monetisation of content, and so does not provide the online press with the financial certainty or mechanisms for legal redress which it needs to build sustainable business models and ensure its continued investment in high-quality content," the EPC's executive director Angela Mills Wade said.

The organisation also confirmed its backing for publishers in other countries that are looking to see some form of 'link tax' brought in.

"The EPC is supporting its members in Germany and elsewhere who are holding fast and demanding laws in their countries that would allow publishers to charge aggregators and search engines for reproducing publishers' content. The proposed German law , currently in draft form, would apply to any aggregator, not just Google, and would provide a legal basis to prohibit unauthorised use of publishers' content," Mills Wade said.