Google acquiesces in agreement with French newspapers on “related rights”

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Google has signed a framework agreement with the most prominent French Press Union, whereby the giant group will pay French newspapers money to use their contents, in accordance with European law on what is termed “related rights”, after complicated negotiations that lasted for months.
The American Group and the General News Press Association (APEG), the most prominent professional coalition of French newspapers, announced, in a joint statement published on Thursday, of “an agreement dealing with the payment of funds in exchange for related rights under French law.”
The statement pointed out that the agreement comes “the fruit of many months of negotiations within the framework specified by the Competition Authority,” and it “defines the framework in which Google will negotiate individual licensing agreements with members of the Press Union, in exchange for publications classified under the category“ Political and General News ”.
These licensing agreements will cover “related rights and will also allow newspapers access to the News Show program,” which Google recently licensed to pay the media in exchange for a variety of private content.
However, it is not known until now how much revenue will this agreement provide to the French press, given the secrecy of the financial conditions related to it.

New Horizons for the press

The statement indicated that the value of the money that will be paid to publishers will be calculated individually “based on criteria including, for example, the degree of contribution to political and general news, the daily volume of publications and also the audience that receives via the Internet per month.”
Pierre Louet, president of the Abig Union and CEO of the French group, Les Zico, which publishes the French newspaper, Le Parisien, said that this agreement “constitutes a de facto recognition of the neighboring rights of press publishers and the start of their receiving money from digital platforms to use their electronic publications.”
For his part, Sebastian Mesouf, head of Google’s French branch, saw in this agreement an affirmation of the group’s “commitment” that opens up “new horizons” for press publishers.
The path to achieving this agreement was not entirely easy. The French press accused Google at the end of 2019 of violating “related rights” similar to intellectual property rights, which began to be implemented as a result of a law passed by the European Parliament in 2019, and France began implementing it immediately. This law will improve revenue sharing in the digital sector for the benefit of publishers and press agencies.
Soon after the law came into effect in France, Google decided unilaterally to limit the appearance of newspapers that refuse to allow them to use their content for free (headlines and excerpts from articles) in its search engine results.

Negotiate “in good faith”
French newspapers were forced to follow these conditions, but they quickly resorted to the competition authority, which in April 2020 ordered the giant American group to negotiate “in good faith” with publishers, a decision later supported by the Paris Court of Appeal.
In this context of negotiations, Google announced last October that a framework agreement with the French Journalists Publishers Association was imminent. Then, in November, it announced that first individual agreements had been reached with some French newspapers, including Le Monde and Le Figaro. And “Liberation” and “L’Express.”
This framework agreement extends over three years. It does not cover all the French written press, especially the press agencies, including Agence France-Presse, as they are still in the process of negotiating with Google, while the Internet group’s talks with the magazine publishers’ union in France did not even lead to results right Now.
Agence France-Presse Chairman Fabrice Fries commented, “I was delighted to translate the recognition of neighboring rights in a tangible way for the first time in Europe, and we are waiting, after the first step has been completed, and it is always the most difficult, for Google to proceed in this path and expand this recognition to other eligible parties, including News agencies ». (AFP)





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