Google attacks copyright payment agreement with some French media groups

Google attacks copyright payment agreement with some French media groups

Google said on Thursday that it had signed “some individual agreements” on royalty payments with French newspapers and magazines after months of disputes over the distribution of revenue from viewing news in search results.

The signatories of the agreement included the main French newspapers Le Monde, Le Figaro and Liberation, as well as magazines such as L’Express, L’Obs and Courrier International.

In a sentence, Google France’s chief Sebastien Missoffe said talks with other media groups are continuing, with the aim of reaching “a framework agreement by the end of the year.”

The announcement came after a Paris appeals court ruled last month that the US giant should continue to negotiate with French news publishers a new European law on so-called “neighboring rights,” which requires payment to display content from news with Internet searches.

Media outlets struggling with declining print subscriptions have long been furious that Google failed to give them a share of the millions it makes from ads displayed alongside news search results.

With the COVID-19 The crisis affects sales even more, several of the main French publications are expected to report large losses this year.

But Google had refused to comply with digital copyright law, which France was the first in the EU to enact, saying that media groups already benefit from receiving millions of visits to their websites.

Financial details were not disclosed, but Missoffe said the payments would be based on criteria including daily publication volumes, monthly Internet traffic and “the publisher’s contribution to general and political information.”

Agence France-Presse, which along with other media groups has filed complaints against Google with France’s competition regulator, did not sign the agreement.

But AFP CEO Fabrice Fries said he was “optimistic” about improving relations with Google and other internet giants such as Facebook and Apple.

“We have a feeling that attitudes have changed in recent months,” Fries told a press conference in Paris on Thursday, saying he was aiming to double the internet platform agency’s revenue of around EUR 10 million ( about Rs. 88 crore) a year currently.

‘Extremely vigilant’
Google has repeatedly clashed with publishers over their reluctance to pay to display articles, videos, and other content in their search results, which have become a vital path to reaching viewers as print subscriptions fade.

After the EU related rights law came into force, it warned that associated content would show up in search results only if media groups agreed to Google using it for free.

News publishers lamented an ultimatum that would almost certainly result in loss of visibility and potential ad revenue.

But Google argued that in addition to encouraging millions of people to click on media sites, it has also spent millions to support media groups in other ways, including emergency funding during the COVID-19 crisis.

Missoffe said on Thursday that since 2013, Google has invested some 85 million euros (approximately 750 million rupees) in the French media landscape, to promote changes in digital platforms and training programs.

Last month, Google Announced plans to invest $ 1 billion (approximately Rs. 7,315 crore) in partnerships with news publishers around the world to develop a Showcase application to highlight your reporting packages.

But among the nearly 200 posts that Google said had subscribed to from various countries, its list lacked France or the United States.

Isabelle da Silva, head of France’s competition authority, told the Paris press conference that her agency “will be extremely vigilant that contracts explicitly recognize neighboring rights and pay for them.”


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