Google and the Agence France-Presse (AFP) announced on Wednesday an agreement on the remuneration for five years of the contents of the international press agency used by the US giant, "the culmination of a long struggle", as well as a will to "Turning the page" after 18 months of difficult negotiations.
This is the first agreement reached by a news agency under the copyright directive, a European directive that France was the first to transpose into national law in 2019.
Across the world, the issue of internet revenue sharing is at the center of tension between the web giants and the media.
"This is an agreement that covers the entire EU, in all AFP languages, even in countries that have not transposed the directive," said AFP CEO Fabrice Fries, calling the agreement " pioneer".
The AFP produces and distributes multimedia content to its clients in six languages around the world.
For Fries, the agreement is “the culmination of a long struggle (…) We fought for the agencies to be fully eligible. The difference with a commercial association is that a related rights contract has the vocation to be durable, "added the president and CEO of the AFP.
«We signed 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, “said Sébastien Missoffe, CEO of Google in France, to AFP journalists.
The total amount that AFP will receive under the agreement was not disclosed. "It will make it possible to contribute to the production of quality information and the development of innovation within the agency," said Fries, who wants the platforms to represent an increasingly important part of AFP's income.
The related rights agreement will be completed "very soon" with "an anti-disinformation program," the two companies said in a joint statement. The AFP will offer, among others, information verification training on several continents.
The concept of rights related to copyright allows newspapers, magazines or news agencies to be remunerated when their content is reused on the Internet.
It was introduced for online platforms by article 15 of the European copyright directive, approved in March 2019 by the European Parliament after more than two years of intense debate.
After initially being reluctant to pay French newspapers for the use of their content, Google finally signed a three-year framework agreement with part of the French press in early 2021, which did not prevent the French authority from the competition imposed a fine of 500 million euros (about 565 million dollars) for not negotiating "in good faith."
Google appealed and continues to negotiate with some French media groups.
For its part, Facebook announced several agreements in October, including a framework agreement with the Alliance pour la Presse d'Information Générale (Apig), which provides for a two-year remuneration to editors of the French daily press for the use of their content. .
He also announced the participation of these publishers in Facebook News, a service dedicated to information, which has already been launched in the United States and the United Kingdom, and that Facebook will deploy in France in January 2022.
Negotiations and tensions with the internet giants are numerous.
In Spain, Google announced on November 3 that it would reopen its Google News service in early 2022.
In Denmark, the mainstream media announced that they would come together to negotiate their copyright with the web giants.
And in Australia, a law was passed that requires tech giants to pay the media for using their content.