4 March 2022CopyrightAlex Baldwin

Google signs new deal to pay French publishers for news

Google has struck a new deal with a consortium of 300 French news publishers to pay the member press outlets to rehost their content.

The US tech giant and the Alliance de la Presse d’Information Générale (APIG) jointly announced the new agreement, amended in accordance with new guidance for news rehosting outlined by the French Autorité de la Concurrence last Septemeber.

Google will begin negotiating individual licensing agreements and the terms of remuneration for neighbouring rights with individual alliance members “in the following weeks”.

Neighbouring rights allow publishers to receive payment from platforms, such as Google, when their content is being reused online.

Sébastien Missoffe vice-president and general manager of Google France said: “These agreements materialise our commitment to publishers and press agencies… These agreements open up new prospects for contributing to the development of these press titles in the digital age”

The two parties have also amended a prior framework agreement signed early last year to apply solely to the “Google News Showcase” in order to comply with the demands of the French competition authority of July 2021.

Pierre Louette, president of the Alliance de la Presse d'Information Générale, said the deal was “essential” for the implementation of the neighbouring right of press publishers, and their remuneration for the use of their online publications.

“They materialise the solidarity within the alliance with the creation of a new category of sustainable income for publishers, after a long negotiation led in particular by Philippe Carli and the teams of the alliance.”

News negotiations

Websites that rehost news content, notably Google and Facebook, have been targetted by various governments and industry watchdog groups with demands that they pay the press outlets to share their copyrighted content.

France’s competition authority previously ordered Google to approach outlets and strike neighbouring agreements. However, the authority found that Google had not acted in good faith in these talks and struck the search engine giant with a €591 million ($570 million) fine in 2020.

Since then, the company has sought to broker rehosting deals with news alliances such as the APIG and the Agence France-Presse in line with “transparent and non-discriminatory criteria”.

Joining France in its crackdown on news rehosting, Australia has also proposed a law that will force Google and Facebook to pay publishers to host their news content.

Facebook responded to the proposed law by pulling all its news from Australia's users in Feburary last year.

While Facebook was purging content, Google took a drastically different approach by announcing that it had struck a historic multi-year licencing deal with media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to host its copyrighted news content across its platforms.

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