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Google announces five-year deal with Agence France-Presse for news content

For years, news organisations that have lost ad income to online aggregators such as Google and Facebook have complained about the internet giants exploiting content in search results or other services without payment.

Google announces five-year deal with Agence France-Presse for news content gcw
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Washington D.C., First Published Nov 18, 2021, 3:02 PM IST
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Alphabet's Google will begin paying Agence France-Presse for its news material as part of wide five-year cooperation announced Wednesday, marking one of the most significant licencing arrangements signed by a digital giant under new French legislation. For years, news organisations that have lost ad income to online aggregators such as Google and Facebook have complained about the internet giants exploiting content in search results or other services without payment.

New regulations in France and Australia, spurred by media lobbying and public pressure, have given publishers more clout, resulting in a wave of licencing deals worth billions of dollars worldwide. The AFP agreement comes after France passed copyright legislation that establishes "neighbouring rights," requiring large digital companies to negotiate with news publishers seeking a licence fee. Google declined to divulge the financial parameters of the agreement but did confirm that it would last five years. In a joint news statement, the firms stated that they would also work on projects such as fact-checking.

According to Reuters, Google agreed earlier this year to pay $76 million over three years to a group of 121 French news publishers, excluding AFP. The transaction, however, has been halted pending the conclusion of an antitrust trial in which France's competition agency has accused Google of failing to bargain in good faith.

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The agreement does not include AFP in News Showcase, a tool created by Google last year that promotes news from over 1,000 publishers that have agreed to licence content for a charge. Reuters struck a News Showcase arrangement with Google in January, and News Corp, the publisher of the Wall Street Journal, signed a similar pact a month later. Last month, Facebook inked a neighbouring rights agreement with a French group that included dozens of publishers such as Le Figaro.

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