Google compelled to negotiate with publishers in France
A French ruling compelling Google to negotiate with publishers over payments for their content should be a cause of celebration for news organisations worldwide.
This is the view of VG Media, a body which collects copyright payments on behalf of hundreds of German media companies and is fighting for a similar deal in that country. On Thursday, France’s competition authority ordered the search engine giant to negotiate with publishers over payment terms for the use of their content in both Google News and search engine results. The move follows European copyright reform which last year strengthened the rights of news publishers to enforce their copyright.
France extended the rights of publishers in October 2019 with the result that Google changed the way it displays search results in France: switching to showing headlines and URLs only, but not article snippets. Now French authorities have said that Google is abusing its dominant market position and must instead negotiate with French publishers to fairly remunerate them for the use of their content.
A previous attempt by Spain to make Google payments to publishers mandatory resulted in the search giant closing down its Google News service in the country. Google’s vice president for news Richard Gingras said: “Since the European Copyright law came into force in France last year, we have been engaging with publishers to increase our support and investment in news.
“We will comply with the FCA’s order while we review it and continue those negotiations.”
By Dominic Ponsford and Andrew Hughes