20 November 2020CopyrightSarah Morgan

Google agrees copyright deals with French publishers

Technology company Google has made progress in its negotiations with press publishers, signing copyright agreements with six French newspapers and magazines.

Google’s announcement comes one month after a French court ruled that Google would have to negotiate payments with French publishers for using their content.

Under the rule of “neighbouring right”, which forms part of the EU Copyright Directive, publishers are able to demand a fee from online platforms for displaying “snippets” of content.

France became the first EU member state to ratify the Copyright Directive in its national law last summer.

The technology company had originally urged policymakers to amend the directive, with Google’s senior vice president of global affairs describing the directive as “one step forward, two steps back” for Europe’s creative economy.

Initially, Google said that it would only display snippets where publishers agreed to license them for free, prompting publishers including Agence France-Presse to bring a complaint to the French competition regulator.

In April this year, the French competition regulator ordered Google to negotiate royalties in line with the directive.

Then, in October, a French appeals court ordered Google to do the same.

Yesterday, November 19, Google announced that it had signed agreements with Le Monde, Courrier International, L'Obs, Le Figaro, Liberation, and L'Express, and it is in discussion with many other titles in the national and regional daily press and magazines.

The remuneration agreements with the six papers are based on criteria such as the publisher’s “contribution to political and general information”, the daily volume of publications, the monthly internet audience, and the use of their content on Google’s sites.

Each of these agreements involves Google’s News Showcase project, in which Google has pledged to pay $1billion to publishers worldwide over the next three years for their content.

As part of this project, Google has signed partnerships with nearly 200 publications across Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the UK and Australia.

Louis Dreyfus, chairman of the management board of Le Monde, said: “We welcome this agreement signed with Google, which covers our neighbouring rights and is part of a strategy to accelerate the transformation of our group's business model.”

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