I don't understand the negative comments here, and I'm not seeing an explanation for the disappointment. Maybe I've missed part of the story here?
They didn’t steal or reprint the full text of the article, they didn’t crawl the site and use a GAN to summarize it (and remember - this is half of what modern journalists do anyways) - they provided a useful service that drove traffic and clicks to these ingrates.
But they wanted more and petitioned the courts to give it to them. This doesn’t seem like much of anything other than gatekeeping the established news media.
First, Google is now the largest customer of these papers. That makes it very hard for them to be critical of Google or its allies and very easy for them to be critical of Google competitiors or detractors. This is at exactly the time when there is a public debate over big tech.
Second, Google isn't paying these papers for news, it's paying them for content/clicks. The core issue with the pay per click model is that it incentivises BS, baseless pieces and it punishes actual investigaive journalism. Everything becomes a "buzzfeed top ten things you already agree with" article. That is a massive problem already, and this change reinforces it and makes it worse. I'd actually like to see this sort of thing banned, not extended.
So why should Google have to pay to quote a newspaper?
The inherent nature of news is that you're always re-selling someone else's story.
2) Besides "Google can afford it", Google is making money off of the snippets they're displaying along side ads in searches. Given a lot of people read the first two lines and move on, the effort of writing those two lines is not awarded money to the writer before this deal, only to Google.
3) The best thing news can be is the fourth estate that prevents disinformation and provides a means for honest discourse. They've gotten chopped up from disruptive business models. We need to reverse that if we like having nice things like democracy and facts.
 There are practical reasons not to pay for information, mainly to prevent "witnesses" from making up stories that will be interesting and bring fame. A huge amount of journalism is sorting through claims, which is a major investment of money and time. Coincidentally... that's something not happening in Google results a ton, with terrible results (pun intended).
Google benefits financially even if they don’t place ads next to the content.
Amazon saw the benefit of this when they added “free” content to Prime and Netflix also sees the value though they don’t sell ads.
Great content largely attracts and retains users. Once you have those users, you have their data and can sell other things to them or...
...prevent those users from using and establishing brand loyalty to a competitors products.
Nike for the last 30 years has actively bought up the rights to promising yet mediocre athletes just to avoid them going to Adidas and potentially becoming stars.
Way to throw us all under the bus, Google. Should have packed your bags and region-blocked France.
https://www.lefigaro.fr/medias/droits-voisins-accord-en-vue-... (in French)
This is a classic tactic - pick a fight with the baddest dude in the room and take him down, then nobody else will challenge you.
Google was the baddest dude in town, and now nobody will challenge this law.
Which, rather ironically, means that Google will have FEWER challengers in the future.
So, yeah, “terrifying” is a perfect word for the OP to use here.
But the principle and it's implications you have considered deeply and have no issue with them?