Google angers French news outlets with $76 million news deal

Alphabet Inc’s Google has agreed to pay $76 million over three years to a group of 121 French news publishers to end a more than year-long copyright spat.

Page One had previously announced the agreement between Google and the Alliance de la presse d’information generale (APIG), a lobby group representing most major French publishers 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 scrutinize the French agreement, the highest-profile in the world under Google’s new program to provide compensation for news snippets used in search results.

Agence France-Presse (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.

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, lawmakers have drafted legalisation that would require Google and Facebook to pay publishers and broadcasters for content. Google has threatened to shut down its search engine in Australia if the country adopts that approach, which the company called “unworkable.”

The French documents seen by Reuters include a framework agreement in which Google will pay $22 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 $10 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.

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