After tough negotiations, Google and Agence France-Presse (AFP) have reached an agreement to remunerate for five years the content of the international press agency presented by the American giant. This is the first partnership entered into by a press agency under copyright “neighboring rights”.
Neighboring law was designed to help publishers of newspapers and magazines, as well as news agencies, to get paid by large companies reusing their content (the text of an article, for example) on the Internet. This right was established for online platforms by Article 15 of the European Copyright Directive, adopted in March 2019 by the European Parliament after more than two years of fierce debate. France was the first to transpose into its national law in 2019.
The agreement “Covers the whole EU [l’Union européenne], in all AFP languages, including in countries which have not transposed the directive ”, welcomed, Wednesday November 17, the CEO of Agence France-Presse, Fabrice Fries, who described “Pioneer” this agreement negotiated for eighteen months. AFP produces and distributes multimedia content in six languages to its clients in France and around the world.
For Mr. Fries, this signature is “The culmination of a long struggle”. “We fought for the agencies to be fully eligible for neighboring rights. The difference with a commercial partnership is that a neighboring rights contract is intended to be sustainable ”, continued the CEO of AFP.
“We sign this agreement to turn the page and move forward. We are here to show that the actors can get along and that we have found a solution ”, stressed Sébastien Missoffe, general manager of Google in France, interviewed jointly by AFP journalists.
The amount of the agreement, lump sum, was not disclosed. He “Will contribute to the production of quality information and to the development of innovation within the Agency”, Fries said. “The precedent created, we will be able to engage in similar negotiations with other platforms”, said Fabrice Fries in an internal message to the employees of the agency.
Agreement with Google must be completed ” very soon “ through “A program on the fight against disinformation”, the two companies said in a joint statement. AFP will notably offer fact-checking training.
In his message to employees, Fabrice Fries added that Google would “Thus becoming one of the Agency’s very first clients, alongside Facebook. “ The American group Meta, owner of the social network, pays more than 80 media outlets around the world, including AFP, under a content verification program.
Facebook also announces agreements
After initially reluctant to pay French newspapers for the use of their content, Google ended up signing a framework agreement in early 2021, suspended since, with part of the press in France for a period of three years. Seized by the press editors, the French Competition Authority imposed a fine of 500 million euros on him in mid-July for not having negotiated ” in good faith “. Google has appealed, and at the same time continues negotiations with certain French media groups.
For its part, Facebook announced several agreements in October, including a framework agreement with the Alliance for the General Information Press (Apig) which plans to remunerate French daily press publishers for two years for the use of their contents. This agreement provides for the participation of these publishers in Facebook News, a service dedicated to information, already launched in the United States and the United Kingdom, and that Facebook will deploy in France in January 2022.
Negotiations and tensions are numerous around GAFAM (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft) and copyright. In Spain, Google has just announced the reopening in early 2022 of its Google News service, which was closed seven years ago in this country in reaction to the adoption of an intellectual property law obliging it to pay the media. In Denmark, the mainstream media announced in June that they would unite to negotiate their copyright with the web giants. In Australia, a law has been passed to force the tech giants to pay the media for the recovery of their content.