The French love passing laws. They've passed ones banning smartphones from schools, taxing tech giants, and giving employees the right to disconnect outside of working hours.
The latest one is a copyright law that will require `information society service providers' (read: Google) to pay publishers for showing snippets of news articles in search results (you know, those four lines you read instead of the full article and then use to show how knowledgeable you are about the new law France has just passed).
France has passed the law off the back of Article 15 (draft Article 11) of the European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Article 15 requires EU Member States to grant publishers copyright over online use of their press publications by information society service providers (read: Google), on the basis that use of snippets has gained economic relevance.
Google argues that it does pay publishers, by facilitating website traffic that publishers can use to generate advertising and subscription revenue, and that actually paying publishers would make Googlers lose trust in Google (let's just momentarily forget their issues with privacy). Publishers don't necessarily agree and maintain that advertising revenue is falling (...into the laps of Google and Facebook).
Spain and Germany tried to pass similar laws a few years back, but to no avail. Google reacted with a classic-Google dummy-throwing tantrum by removing the Google News tab from search results in Spain. In Germany, publications relented and granted Google permission after some publications saw their website traffic nearly halve.
We will be sitting on the sidelines waiting to see how long it takes for publishers to buckle under the Richard Gingras-shaped pressure and decide that website traffic is far more valuable than any licence fee it might get from Google.
TL;DR? Don't worry, we got you: France is trying make Google pay publishers for displaying snippets of news articles in search results. Google is refusing and instead will only show headlines (no images, no snippets) with search results for news in France, unless authorised otherwise. Our prediction is that Google, like any dummy-throwing brat, will get its way and get permission from publishers, fearful of losing website traffic, to continue snippetting away, business as usual.