Google has agreed to pay Agence France-Presse (AFP) for news content. According to multiple media reports including Reuters, the partnership is for five years and comes after France enacted a copyright law that creates "neighbouring rights". The law requires big tech companies to enter into discussions with publishers that want a licencing payment. Both companies said in a joint statement that the wider partnership will also encompass other projects, including a programme dedicated to fact-checking, with more details to be shared soon. Google did not comment on MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's query about the partnership's monetary value.
AFP's CEO, Fabrice Fries, said the agreement is "a recognition of the value of information" and will contribute to the production of quality information and the development of innovation within the Agency. "It illustrates the growing part that platforms are called upon to take in AFP's activities, already supported by the very rapid development of digital investigation," he added.
Meanwhile, Google France's MD, Sébastien Missoffe, added that the agreement with AFP demonstrates its willingness to find common ground with publishers and press agencies in France on the topic of neighbouring rights. "This partnership will further support the work of AFP and paves the way for even closer collaboration between our teams in the future," he explained. The new agreement, however, does not bring AFP into Google's News Showcase, Reuters said. This feature was launched in 2020 and promotes content from more than 1,000 publishes that have agreed to licence content for a fee.
Earlier this year, Google agreed to pay US$76 million over three years to 121 French news publishers, Reuters reported, putting an end a more than year-long copyright dispute. AFP, however, was not part of the previous agreement. Over the years, news publishers have complained about big tech companies such as Google and Facebook using stories in search results without paying them. Last year, the Malaysian Newspaper Publishers Association even wrote a letter to the Malaysia Competition Commission about the duopoly sharing revenue with publishers in the country.
Months later, in October, Google announced that it is investing US$1 billion in partnerships with news publishers to support the industry and the future of news. The initial rollout covered Germany and Brazil. Separately, Australia's News Corp also inked an agreement with Google earlier this year to feature its publications on Google News Showcase in return for "significant payments by Google". Shortly after, it signed a three-year agreement with Facebook to offer news and information via Facebook News.
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