Google will pay AFP for five years for internet content usage

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Google and AFP (Agence France-Presse) announced on Wednesday (17) the signing of an unprecedented European agreement on the remuneration for five years of the news agency’s contents used by the search engine. The negotiation took 18 months.

This is the first agreement signed by a news agency under the European copyright directive, a law adopted in March 2019 and transposed to France in the same year, at the center of several disputes between internet giants and the media .

“This is an agreement that covers the entire European Union, in all AFP languages, even in countries that have not transposed the directive,” said the agency’s director general, Fabrice Fries, who described the agreement as pioneering.

AFP produces and distributes multimedia content to its clients in six languages ​​around the world.
“We fought for agencies to be fully eligible. The difference with a trade association is that a neighboring rights contract is meant to be long lasting,” said Fires.

“We signed this agreement to turn the page and move forward. We are here to show that actors can get along and that we have found a solution,” said Sébastien Missoffe, Google’s director general in France.

The total amount that AFP will receive under the agreement has not been disclosed.

The agreement “will make it possible to contribute to the production of quality information and the development of innovation within the agency,” said Fries, who wants the platforms to represent an increasingly significant part of AFP’s revenues.

The agreement on neighboring rights will be concluded “very soon” with “an anti-disinformation program”, the two companies said in a joint statement. AFP will offer, among other things, information verification training on multiple continents.

The concept of related rights to copyright allows newspapers, magazines and news agencies to be remunerated when their content is reused on the internet.

It was introduced to online platforms by article 15 of the EU copyright directive, approved in March 2019 by the European Parliament after more than two years of intense debate.

After initially reluctant to pay French newspapers for the use of its content, Google eventually signed a three-year agreement with part of the French press in early 2021, but in mid-July the competent French authority imposed a fine on the company. 500 million euros for not trading in good faith.

Google appealed and is still negotiating with some French media groups.

Facebook, meanwhile, announced several agreements in October, including one with the Alliance pour la Presse d’Information Générale (Apig), which provides for a two-year remuneration for French daily press editors for the use of their content.

It also announced the participation of these editors in Facebook News, a service dedicated to information, which has already been launched in the United States and the United Kingdom and that Facebook will implement in France in January 2022.

There are countless negotiations and tensions with the internet giants. In Spain, Google announced on November 3 that it would reopen its Google News service in early 2022.

In Denmark, the main media outlets said they would band together to negotiate their copyrights with the web giants. And in Australia, a law has been passed requiring big tech companies to pay the media for the use of their content.

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