Clicking a mouse button is such an inconsequential event that we do not think of it as work. Effort is defined as the conscious exertion of power and we typically click on a mouse without conscious thought. But, there is a huge gap, more than effort, between seeing an advertisement on a page and clicking through to an article on another page.
For Google to become the fifth largest capitalized company in America it had to do more than one thing right. One of those things has been making every fraction of a second counts. Google constantly works on speed. It keeps it's information presentations minimalistic in order to save a fraction of a second each and every time the Google search button is hit. The total difference in pages seen is immeasurable.
The French certainly have a strong sense of who they are and it is easy to make arguments about how slowing down life a little is a good thing. Like the click of a mouse, the loss of a fraction of a second here and there seems like such an inconsequential thing, but the loss of trillions of advertising views is the result.
Orange is a big player and there is room for many big players in the information world, but economies of scale are critical in information networks. Orange needs to make a deal with a big provider, such as Google or Yahoo, to provide display ads and the French need to back-away from what in essence is a trade war.
By the law of comparative advantage, there are many French authors who will benefit if their works are given wide distribution through Amazon and Google book services. The people of France and the people of the world will benefit by having the widest selection of books available. It is the French who will be hurt the most if protectionist walls are raised, even if some of the walls are as small as the extra click of a mouse.
"Orange does not plan to sell ads in connection with the newspaper articles but says the papers will benefit when readers click through to their Web sites, increasing their online audiences"
- Media Cache - France Moves to Win Back Control of Content - NYTimes.com (view on Google Sidewiki)