Australia Google strikes $98 million deal with French publishers, leaving independent media angered
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Google has agreed to pay $US76 million ($98 million) over three years to a group of 121 French news publishers to end a more than year-long copyright spat, documents show.
The agreement between Google and the Alliance de la presse d'information generale (APIG), a lobby group representing most major French publishers, was announced previously, but financial terms had not been disclosed.
The move infuriated many other French outlets, which deemed it unfair and opaque.
Publishers in other countries will scrutinise the French agreement, the highest-profile in the world under Google's new program to provide compensation for news snippets used in search results.
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Agence France-Press (AFP) and other French news providers that do not belong to the group are not part of the agreement and are pressing forward with various actions against Google.
"These opaque agreements don't ensure the fair treatment of all news publishers, since the calculation formula isn't made public," the union for independent online news publishers Spiil said this week.
"Google took advantage of our divisions to advance its interests."
The accord follows France's implementation of the first copyright rule enacted under a recent European Union law that creates "neighbouring rights", requiring large tech platforms to open talks with publishers seeking remuneration for use of news content.
In Australia, MPs have drafted legalisationand broadcasters for content.
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Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault is leading a similar push from his government and has previously tweeted Canada 'stands in solidarity with our Australian partners'.Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault is leading a similar push from his government and has previously tweeted Canada 'stands in solidarity with our Australian partners ... to introduce a more equitable digital framework'.
if the country adopts that approach, which the company called "unworkable."
Making Google pay for news
The French documents, seen by Reuters, include a framework agreement in which Google will pay $US22 million ($28 million) annually for three years to a group of 121 national and local French news publications after signing individual licensing agreements with each.
The second document is a settlement agreement under which Google agrees to pay $US10 million ($13 million) to the same group in exchange for the publishers' commitment not to sue over copyright claims for three years.
Publishers would commit to an upcoming new product called Google News Showcase that would allow publishers to curate content and provide limited access to paywalled stories.
Google declined to comment on terms of the deal when contacted by Reuters.
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With Google stating that it may remove search from Australia if the media bargaining code goes ahead in its current form, there’s something of an open question about what that means for IoT gadgets like smart speakers. What’s the issue? Just in case you’re not up to speed, the Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2020 will force Google to directly pay specific Australian news outlets. Google’s response has been it would be forced to remove search from Australia entirely if the bill goes ahead in its current state.
Pressure is mounting on Google globally to pay for news content, as the industry's advertising and revenues have plummeted with the rise of digital platforms.
In Spain and Germany, publishers have tried but failed to charge Google for displaying excerpts, or snippets.
German publishers lost a legal battle in 2019 for 1 billion euros ($1.6 billion) worth of copyright fees since 2013.
The text of the EU "neighbouring rights" rule was aimed at creating a new sustainable stream of revenues for news publishers.
In the United States, the news industry is backing legislation that would allow it to negotiate collectively with the big platforms without violating antitrust law.
A report issued to US Congress recently said dominant tech firms have harmed the news industry because they "can impose unilateral terms on publishers, such as take-it-or-leave-it revenue sharing agreements".
Facebook blocks news content in Australia as it blasts proposed law .
Facebook blocks news content in Australia as it blasts proposed law(Reuters) - Facebook Inc will block news content from being read and shared in its news feed in Australia, drawing a line in the sand against a proposed Australian law that would require it and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay the country's news publishers for content.