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Google agrees to pay $ 76 million to French publishers for News in Search

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Google’s $ 76 million deal with French publishers leaves many sites in a rage

Alphabet Google has agreed to pay $ 76 million (approximately 552 kroner) over three years to a group of 121 French news publishers to end more than a year of copyright disputes, documents seen by Reuters show.

The agreement between Google and the Alliance de la presse d’information generale (APIG), a lobby group representing most major French publishers, was announced earlier, but the financial terms were not disclosed.

The move infuriated many other French retailers, who found it unfair and non-transparent. Publishers in other countries will review the French agreement, the world’s most famous for Google’s new program, to provide compensation for snippets of news used in search results.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) and other French news providers that do not belong to the group are not part of the agreement and are demanding various actions against Google.

The agreement traces France’s application of the first copyright rule, which has recently entered into force European Union a law that creates “neighboring rights” requiring large technology platforms to start talks with publishers seeking remuneration for the use of news content.

In Australia, legislators have prepared legalization which will require Google and Facebook to pay publishers and broadcasters for content. Google has threatened to be imprisoned its search engine in Australia if the country adopts this approach, which the company called “non-working”.

The French documents seen by Reuters include a framework agreement in which Google will pay $ 22 million (approximately Rs. 160 crore) annually for three years to a group of 121 national and local French news outlets after signing individual licensing agreements with each of them.

The second document is a settlement agreement under which Google agrees to pay $ 10 million (approximately Rs. 72 crore) to the same group in exchange for the publishers’ commitment not to sue for copyright claims for three years.

Publishers will commit to an upcoming new product called the Google News Showcase, which will allow publishers to organize content and provide limited access to paid wall stories.

Google declined to comment on the terms of the deal.

In January, Reuters, a division of Thomson Reuters Corp., struck a deal with Google to be the first global news provider on the Google News Showcase.

Reuters’ French rival AFP is suing French antitrust authorities against Google, an inside source said. Last month, AFP CEO Fabrice Fries welcomed the deal between Google and APIG, but called on the technology company to extend similar copyright deals to news agencies.

FIX GOOGLE PLATE

There is growing pressure on Google to pay for news content worldwide, as advertising and revenue in the industry have collapsed with the rise of digital platforms.

In Spain and Germany, publishers have tried but failed to charge Google for displaying snippets or snippets. German publishers have lost a legal battle in 2019 for copyright fees worth 1 billion euros since 2013.

The text of the EU Rule of Neighborhood Rights aimed to create a new sustainable revenue stream for news publishers.

In the United States, the news industry supports legislation that would allow it to negotiate collectively with major platforms without violating antitrust laws. In Congress, lawmakers recently issued a report saying that dominant technology companies have harmed the news industry because “they may impose unilateral conditions on publishers, such as revenue-taking or revenue-sharing agreements.”

Andrew McLeod, executive director of Canada’s Postmedia, said publishers are watching discussions in other parts of the world. “We are looking for a result to grow and build our future, instead of relying on giving.”

MISSING TRANSPARENCY

French publishers had no choice but to agree to the deal, three sources close to the issue, citing pressure from shareholders.

The same sources said that some publishers are upset, Google refuses to provide access to data showing how much money it generates from news.

“These non-transparent agreements do not guarantee fair treatment for all news publishers, as the calculation formula is not in the public domain,” the Spiil trade union for independent online news publishers said this week. “Google is taking advantage of our divisions to develop its interests.”

Fees range from $ 1.3 million (approximately Rs. 9.44 crore) for France’s reference daily Monde to $ 13,741 (approximately Rs. 9.98 lakh) for local publisher La Voix de la Haute Marne, documents show. They did not specify how the amounts were calculated.

The leading national dailies Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Liberation and their groups negotiated about 3 million euros (about $ 3.6 million) (approximately Rs. 26.14 kroner) each year at the top of the fee in the agreement, especially agreeing in November to sell subscriptions through Google, said a source close to the issue.

Le Monde leader Lewis Dreyfus and Liberation chief Dennis Oliven declined to comment. Representatives of Le Figaro were not immediately available for comment.

The head of APIG, Pierre Luet, did not respond to messages seeking comment.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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