France rules Google must pay news firms for content

Google says it will pay French publishers and news agencies for content reuse

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French dailies
French dailies stand to gain from the ruling that Google must pay for reuse of content, even headlines and snippets Photo: RFI via Internet

Reuters reported on 9 April 2020 from Paris that France’s competition authority ruled on the same day that Google must pay French publishing companies and news agencies for reusing their content. The US-based search engine driven conglomerate said it would comply with the French competition authority verdict, which followed a complaint by unions representing French press publishers.

“Google’s practices caused serious and immediate harm to the press sector, while the economic situation of publishers and news agencies is otherwise fragile,” France’s ‘Autorite de la Concurrence’ said in a statement, quoted by Reuters.

Last year, the search-engine giant said it would stop showing news snippets from European publishers on search results for its French users, to comply with new European copyright law. “Since the European copyright law came into force in France last year, we have been engaging with publishers to increase our support and investment in news,” Richard Gingras, vice president of News at Google, said in a statement.

In its ruling, the French Competition Authority ordered Google to negotiate with French news organizations within the next three months to pay to reuse excerpts of news stories. That means Google will have to pay publishers for the headlines and snippets of stories that appear in Google News and even Google searches.

The Pan-European Union copyright reform

The EU copyright reform of 2019 has aided the countries content generators in redressing this imbalance in the news revenues of Google and the actual producers. According to TechCrunch, as reported by Hanaa Tameez on the NiemanLab website, France is the first country in the European Union to “transpose the neighboring right for news into national law, following the passing of a pan-EU copyright reform last year.”