Google will pay Agence France Presse (AFP) for 5 years to use its online content

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It is “the culmination of a long fight” as well as a desire to “turn the page”: at the end of bitter negotiations on the application of “neighboring rights”, Google and Agence France Presse (AFP ) have reached an agreement to remunerate for five years the contents of the international press agency presented by the American giant.

Fabrice Fries, on the right, CEO of AFP with Sebastien Missoffe, Google Vice president and Managing Director France

This is the first partnership concluded by a press agency for rights related to copyright, a European directive that France was the first to transpose into its national law in 2019. The question of sharing the income generated on the web by the tech giants is at the heart of great tensions with the media around the world.

The agreement “covers the whole EU, in all AFP languages, including in countries which have not transposed the directive”, welcomed Wednesday the CEO of Agence France-Presse, Fabrice. Fries, who described as “pioneer” this agreement negotiated for 18 months. AFP produces and distributes multimedia content in six languages ​​to its clients in France and around the world.

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For Mr. Fries, this signing is “the culmination of a long struggle. (…) We fought for the agencies to be fully eligible for neighboring rights. The difference with a commercial partnership is that a neighboring rights contract is intended to be sustainable, ”continued the CEO of AFP.

The amount of the agreement, lump sum, was not disclosed. It “will make it possible to contribute to the production of quality information and to the development of innovation within the Agency”, indicated Mr. Fries.

“The precedent created, we will be able to engage in similar negotiations with other platforms,” ​​said Fabrice Fries in an internal message to the employees of the agency.

The agreement with Google must be completed “very soon” by “a program on the fight against disinformation,” said the two companies in a joint statement. AFP will notably offer fact-checking training.

In his message to employees, Fabrice Fries added that Google would “thus become one of the very first clients of the Agency, alongside Facebook. The American group Meta, owner of the social network, pays more than 80 media outlets around the world, including AFP, under a content verification program.

Negotiations and tensions are numerous around Gafam and copyright. In Spain, Google has just announced the reopening in early 2022 of its Google News service, which was closed seven years ago in this country in reaction to the adoption of an intellectual property law obliging it to pay the media. In Denmark, the mainstream media announced in June that they would unite to negotiate their copyright with the web giants. In Australia, a law has been passed to force the tech giants to pay the media for the recovery of their content.

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