Google seals content payment deal with French news publishers

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FILE PHOTO: A sign is pictured outs a Google offcie near the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Paresh Dave

PARIS (Reuters) – Google and a French publishers’ lobby said on Thursday they had agreed a copyright framework under which the U.S. tech giant will pay news publishers for content online, in a first for Europe.

The move paves the way for individual licensing agreements for French publications, some of which have seen revenues drop with the rise of the Internet and declines in print circulation.

The deal, which aims to provide a sustainable way to pay publishers, is likely to be closely watched by other platforms such as Facebook, a lawyer involved in the talks said.

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Alphabet-owned Google and the Alliance de la presse d’information générale (APIG) said in a statement that the framework included criteria such as the daily volume of publications, monthly internet traffic and “contribution to political and general information”.

Google has so far only signed licensing agreements with a few publications in France, including national daily newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro. These take into account the framework agreed with APIG, a Google spokesman said.

Google’s vehicle for paying news publishers, called Google News Showcase, is another new product it has developed which allows publishers to curate their own content online. It is so far only available in Brazil and Germany.

Google and APIG did not say how much money could be distributed to APIG’s members, who include most French national and local publishers. And details on how the remuneration would be calculated were not disclosed.

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The deal follows months of bargaining between Google, French publishers and news agencies over how to apply revamped EU copyright rules, which allow publishers to demand a fee from online platforms showing extracts of their news.

The world’s biggest search engine initially fought against the idea of paying publishers for content, saying their websites benefited from greater traffic brought by Google.

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Edmund Blair, Jon Boyle and Alexander Smith/Copyright Thomson Reuters)

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