After months of conflict, Google and the Alliance de la Presse d’Information Générale (Agip) – which brings together 305 French newspapers – have announced the signing of a framework agreement on remuneration for the resumption of their press articles.
This agreement sets the principles according to which the Mountain View firm will negotiate individual licensing agreements with the members of Agip, that is to say most of the French press titles.
Access to the News Showcase program
These individual contracts will cover neighboring rights, which allow press publishers to be remunerated for the recovery of their content by news aggregators, and will open access to “News Showcase”. Presented at the beginning of last October by Google, this new tool allows press editors to choose the nature as well as the presentation of their content when using the search engine.
The remuneration for the resumption of content is based on several criteria, some examples of which are given in the press release. This is the contribution to political and general information, the daily volume of publications or even the monthly audience via the Internet.
Long months of legal battle
This announcement ends several months of disagreement. Some French media were fighting for Google to apply a new European text which recognizes publishers and news agencies a new right, called “neighboring right”, which allows them to be paid when there are total or partial resumes of their contained by information aggregators.
To circumvent this obligation, Google had quite simply modified the display of its news by leaving only simple links with the titles. Otherwise, the media could expressly mention to Google that they still wish to appear in the search engine but without being paid.
Faced with this situation, Agip had filed a complaint against Google at the end of October 2019 before the Competition Authority for abuse of a dominant position. At the beginning of last October, the Paris Court of Appeal reminded the Mountain View firm of this obligation to negotiate in “good faith” with press editors.
Showdown between Google, Facebook and Canberra
This conflict between Google and press publishers is not reserved for France. Faced with the great difficulty of the media, the Australian government adopted a bill aimed at forcing Google and Facebook to pay press titles for the resumption of their content. If these rules are violated, American companies risk several million euros in fines.
This new regulation does not please Washington at all. The Office of the US Trade Representative regrets a “heavy” bill that will target “exclusively” two US companies “without first establishing a violation of Australian law or market failure.”