In a first in Europe, Google and a group of French publishers said
onThursday they had signed an agreement aimed at opening the path to
digital copyright payments under which the US tech giant will pay
publishers for online content.
The principles agreed between the French publishers' group, Alliance de la presse d'information générale (APIG), and Google include criteria such as the daily volume of publications, monthly internet traffic and "contribution to political and general information," they said in a statement.
The accord involves "neighbouring rights," which call for payment for showing news content with internet searches, a joint statement said.
The agreement sets a framework for Google to negotiate individual licence arrangements with newspapers on copyright payments and will give papers access to its new News Showcase programme, for which publishers will pay for a selection of enriched content.
Before the deal was signed, Google had only signed individual agreements with a few publications so far, including national dailies Le Monde and Le Figaro.
Google and APIG did not say how much money could be distributed under the agreement to APIG members, which include national and local publishers.
Payments are to be calculated individually and will be based on criteria including internet viewing figures and the amount of information published.
Proof of 'commitment'
APIG head Pierre Louette said the deal amounts to the "effective recognition of neighbouring rights for the press and the start of their remuneration by digital platforms for the use of their publications online."
Google France chief Sebastien Missoffe called the deal proof of a "commitment" that opens up "new perspectives."
News outlets struggling with dwindling print subscriptions have long seethed at Google's failure to give them a cut of the millions it makes from ads displayed alongside news search results.
The Covid-19 crisis has hurt sales even further.
A Paris appeals court ruled in October that the US giant had to continue to negotiate with French news publishers over a new European law on neighbouring rights.
France was the first country in the EU to enact the law but Google had initially refused to comply, saying media groups already benefit by receiving millions of visits to their websites.