'Neighbouring rights': Google agrees new deal to pay French publishers for news content

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By AFP  with Euronews
Google was fine €500 million last year for failing to negotiate in "good faith"
Google was fine €500 million last year for failing to negotiate in "good faith"   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File

Google has signed a new agreement to pay French publishers for the right to display their news content online.

The deal means that media organisations in France will be fairly renumerated when their news articles appear on the search engine's results pages.

A new agreement was unveiled on Thursday by Google and the Alliance for the General Information Press (Apig), which brings together nearly 300 national, regional and local news groups.

The deal replaces a previous agreement that was announced last January.

Facebook reached a similar agreement with Agip in October to pay French publishers over the copyright of their content

The dispute over so-called "neighbouring rights" has soured relations between French news organisations and the US tech giant for more than two years.

Google and Facebook have long argued against the principle, stating that French publishers are already exposed on their platforms and promoted to customers.

But in 2019, a European Union Directive entrenched "neighbouring rights" into law, a move that France swiftly adopted.

Although Google and Agip reached an agreement last year, the US company was fined €500 million for not having negotiated with French publishers "in good faith".

A French watchdog had asked Google to resume negotiations and propose a new compensation offer.

Google and Agip said in a joint statement that the new agreement on "neighbouring rights" was a "historic step". The exact amount of compensation offered to French news organisations has not been made public.

Google also hopes to sign a similar deal with another French media group, SEPM, in the future.