Neighboring rights: Google and the French daily press close to an agreement

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Perhaps good news for the French press sector. Against all expectations, Google has approved the principle of a neighboring right to be paid fairly for all general information press titles, in accordance with what is required by a French law transposing a hotly contested European directive. As the newspaper industry around the world is engaged in a standoff with the giants of the Web to obtain a better sharing of revenues, mainly advertising, generated by its content on the Web, the agreement should be observed closely. well beyond the borders of France.

The French subsidiary of the American firm thus announced Wednesday evening in a press release that the discussions it had with the Alliance of the press for general information (Apig), “which took place within the framework set by the Competition Authority (AC), could make it possible to validate the key principles of an agreement based on audience criteria, non-discrimination and contribution to the production of political and general information ”. The company specifies that its offer “covers neighboring rights as defined by law, as well as participation in News Showcase, a new product recently launched by Google “.

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According to our information, an Apig council is due to examine the framework agreement with Google on Thursday. “The last few weeks have made it possible to clarify many points and to confirm that Google accepted the principle of remuneration for our press titles and thus give a reality to neighboring rights”, welcomes, in the Google press release, Pierre Louette, CEO of Groupe Les Echos – Le Parisien, in charge of negotiations for Apig. Until now, Google has refused the principle of a neighboring right and preferred to sign agreements with certain media, which others accused of a strategy of division to rule better.

It remains to be seen how much Google will be willing to pay and according to which distribution keys. The idea of ​​News Showcase is in any case to offer spaces called “panels” in Google News and soon on the Google search engine within which certain media will be able to place information and highlight it and will be paid for. that. The California-based company has committed $ 1 billion to the project. Google had specified that nearly 200 newspaper publishers had signed on this program in Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

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Google’s press release does not refer to ongoing discussions with parties other than Apig, such as AFP and the Syndicate of Magazine Editors. The American giant, however, hopes to reach an agreement of the same type with these two players, according to a source close to the file contacted by AFP.

“That things are finally moving is a good thing. AFP side, the thread of dialogue with Google is renewed, discussions are trying to take into account the specificities of the Agency ”, for his part commented the CEO of AFP, Fabrice Fries.

Google’s announcement comes on the eve of an important decision by the Paris Court of Appeal related to the neighboring rights case. The court must say whether the French Competition Authority was right to impose last April on the American internet giant to negotiate on neighboring rights with the press publishers who so wished.

According to the source close to the file interviewed by AFP, the emerging agreement will apply in all cases, even if the Court of Appeal ruled against the AC.

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