President Francois Hollande told Google's chief executive on Monday that France would legislate to force the web search engine to pay for displaying links to news articles unless it struck a deal with French media outlets.
Press associations in France, and other European countries, want Google to pay when it displays links to newspapers in Internet searches.
In reply, Google has threatened to stop indexing articles from the French press.
"The President ... said he hoped negotiations between Google and press organs could begin quickly and conclude before the end of the year," Hollande's office said in a statement after his meeting with Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
If no deal were struck, France would press ahead with a law similar to one being drafted in Germany, the statement said.
Earlier this month Brazil's National Association of Newspapers stopped using search engine aggregator Google News, arguing that it refused to pay for content and was driving traffic away from newspaper sites.