Hundreds of journalists called for EU officials on Wednesday to take action against Google for refusing to pay media companies to display their content in defiance of strict EU copyright law.
France was the first country to ratify the law, which was passed this year and entered into force on Thursday to ensure that when their work is displayed online, they are compensated.
But Google said last month that articles, images and videos in search results would only be shown if media firms agreed to let the tech giant use it for free.
If they refuse, only a title and a bare link to the content will appear, Google said, almost certainly causing a loss of visibility and potential advertising revenue for the publisher.
About 800 journalists, as well as photographers, filmmakers and CEOs of media, signed an open letter published in newspapers across Europe urging governments to ensure that Google and other tech firms follow the new EU rule.
The letter said “the risk of the law has already been taken away by all meanings,” adding that Google’s move has been called “an insult to national and European sovereignty”.
“The current situation, in which Google enjoys most of the advertising revenue generated by the news that it grows without pay, is unstable and has put the media in crisis every year,” it said.
The presidents of the European Alliance of News Agencies and the European Newspaper Publishers Association also signed the letter.
Google has proposed that it benefits news publishers by sending more than eight billion visits to its websites each month in Europe alone.
French President Emmanuel Macron has said that Google must comply with the law, and the European Commission said it is ready to assist member states, which will have to translate into domestic law by June 2021.
The new rules create so-called neighboring rights to ensure a form of copyright protection – and for media firms when their content is used on websites such as search engines or social media platforms.
The open letter stated that now disruptive campaigns are infecting the Internet and social networks, and independent journalism is under attack in many countries within the European Union.