$ 76 million deal with mainstream French press association

Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet, has agreed to pay $ 76 million over three years to a union of 121 French dailies and newspapers, ending a long-running copyright dispute, according to documents leaked to Reuters.

The agreement between Google and APIG (Alliance de la presse d ‘information generale), the main professional organization of the French press, which mainly represents newspapers and magazines of national or local circulation in France, was previously announced but its financial terms agreement had not been disclosed.

The deal angered many other French media outlets, which found it unfair and opaque. Publishers in other countries will carefully study the French agreement, the most prominent in the world under Google’s new program to compensate media for excerpts of news used in search results.

The French Agency (AFP) and other French media outlets that do not belong to APIG are not part of the agreement and are promoting various actions against the internet giant.

The agreement is based on the implementation by France of a copyright regulation recently introduced by the European Union that creates “related rights”, requiring major technology platforms to start media conversations seeking compensation for the use of news content.

In Australia, lawmakers have drafted legislation requiring Google and Facebook to compensate publishers and broadcasters for online content. Google has threatened to shut down its search engine in Australia if the country adopts this legislation, which the company described as “inapplicable”.

The Google-APIG deal, according to documents seen by Reuters, includes a framework agreement in which Google will pay $ 22 million a year for three years to the union of 121 national and regional French newspapers and magazines following the signing of individual licensing agreements. with each.

It also includes a settlement agreement under which Google agrees to pay $ 10 million to APIG in exchange for publishers pledging not to sue for three years.

Publishers will commit to an upcoming new product called the Google News Showcase that will allow publishers to edit content and provide limited access to paid news.

Google declined to comment on the terms of the agreement.

The pressure on Google is increasing worldwide for the internet giant to pay for news content, as advertising and media industry revenue has declined with the rise of digital platforms.

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

The EU “related rights” regulation aimed to create a new sustainable revenue stream for the press.

In the US, the media industry supports legislation that would allow it to bargain collectively with major platforms without violating antitrust laws. In Congress, lawmakers recently issued a report stating that major technology companies are hurting the media industry because “they can impose unilateral terms on publishers, such as take-it-or-go revenue sharing agreements.”

French publishers had no choice but to accept Google’s deal with APIG, three sources familiar with the matter said, citing pressure from shareholders.

The same sources said that some publishers were upset as Google refused to provide data showing how much money it earns from news.

“These opaque agreements do not guarantee fair treatment of all publishers, as the calculation formula has not been made public,” the independent online media association Spiil said last week.

“Google has taken advantage of our divisions to advance its interests,” they said.

The fees range from $ 1.3 million in the French newspaper Le Monde to $ 13,741 in the regional newspaper La Voix de la Haute Marne, according to the agreement documents. The method of calculating the amounts is not specified.

Leading national newspapers Le Monde, Le Figaro and Liberation and their groups traded about $ 3.6 million each year, in addition to the deal fee, agreeing in November to sell subscriptions through Google, a source said.

Le Monde group leader Louis Dreyfuss and Liberation Dennis Oliven declined to comment. Representatives of Le Figaro were not immediately available for comment. APIG chief Pierre Luet did not respond to a request for comment.

Source: Zougla.gr by www.zougla.gr.

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