The French judiciary rules against Google in the copyright case


Newspaper editors on Thursday scored a point of law in France against Google in their battle to get the US internet giant to pay the copyright or what has been termed “related rights” that could reward the media content Google publishes on its pages.

In the long-awaited ruling outside the borders of France, the Paris Court of Appeal ruled that the French Competition Authority had the right on April 9 to compel Google to initiate negotiations on these neighboring rights with editors of newspapers and media.

The court, which rejected Google’s appeal, ordered the giant company to pay each of the three representatives of the press editors involved – the General News Journalism Alliance, the Press Magazine Editors Syndicate and Agence France-Presse, according to the verdict, which was seen by AFP.

“Related Rights” provides for the payment of a financial compensation for content (photos and videos in particular) that is used by the Internet platforms.

But Google refused from the start to pay the French press, which led to the rise of the sector to defend its rights. The French press is generally struggling with financial problems, and an additional source of funding through Google might give it a much-needed whiff of oxygen.

Isabelle de Silva, president of the competition authority, welcomed the ruling on Twitter, saying it was “a very important decision. The competition applies to everything, including the digital space.”

Decision to appeal

Google, for its part, took note of the decision of the Court of Appeal. “We submitted the appeal in order to obtain additional legal clarification on certain elements of the decision, and we have taken note of the ruling of the Court of Appeal,” the American company said in a statement.

“Our priority remains the success of our discussions with publishers and French news agencies” on the issue of reward for content, she added.

Google said Wednesday evening, hours before the verdict, that it was close to reaching an agreement with the French daily press. The Californian company said, without further details: “Our discussions, which took place within the framework set by the competition authority, can prove the validity of the basic principles of an agreement” to be reached.

After my world

Google, like other major internet platforms such as Facebook, has troubled relationships with newspaper publishers who accuse it of using their content for its own benefit, especially in ads, without adequately sharing the value it derives from it.

In this battle, French newspaper editors consider that the American group, by bundling their output on its search results pages, becomes a producer of the content it uses to attract the attention of Internet surfers and then can generate revenue from it.

Google, for its part, argued from the start that it could generate huge traffic on media sites on the Internet, and this in turn generated income for these sites.

This position was supported by a study by the communications group Heroics and published Thursday, according to which the French press still relies heavily on Search Engine To generate traffic to their sites.

The issue of rewarding journalistic content through the platforms is not limited to France and Europe, but is raised all over the world, as Australia is trying, for example, to compel Google and Facebook to pay local media money.

Last week, Google President Sundar Pichai announced $ 1 billion in spending to improve newspaper publishers’ revenue around the world by paying for licenses.

Google said that this new proposal is part of what was on the table during discussions with French publishers about related rights.


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