► What is this agreement about?
The Alliance for General Information Press (Apig) – which brings together nearly 300 daily press titles – and Google signed an agreement on Thursday 3 March allowing the French daily press to be remunerated for “neighboring rights”when one of its contents is reused by the Californian giant, for example when articles appear in the search engine results pages.
→ READ. The press organizes its management of related rights
This remuneration (the amounts of which are unknown for the moment) will be “on the basis of transparent and non-discriminatory criteria”, assured the two signatories. The “rights related to copyright” were established in 2019 by a European directive to “protect journalism”explained the former MEP and president of Radio France Jean-Marie Cavada in The cross in 2018.
“The press extracts published on Google News did not give rise to remuneration for the newspapers. The American group claimed that it encouraged Internet users to visit their websites, thus creating more traffic. But this sharing of value was totally insufficient,” explains François Herpe, lawyer specializing in competition and intellectual property.
“The implementation of neighboring rights protects the economic investments (the operation of the editorial staff, printing, distribution, etc.) of press companies and gives them additional leverage to negotiate with the major platforms”, adds Frédéric Sardain, lawyer specializing in digital law.
► Why did it take so long to see the light of day?
Between the adoption of the directive by MEPs in 2019 and the signing of the agreement on Thursday March 3, Google and the daily press fought until July 2021, when the Competition Authority condemned the engine of research to a fine of 500 million euros for not having negotiated ” in good faith ” with publishers. “It was an abuse of a dominant position”, says François Herpe.
→ EXPLANATION. What does the creation of a neighboring right for the press imply?
” Everyone comes out a winner Frédéric Sardain analysis, Google avoids new litigation at the cost of a drop of water in its budget, and the press acquires a source of recurring funding. » For François Herpe, this agreement allows “to get out definitively of a very conflicting phase”.
► What to expect next?
After the daily press, Google announced that it wanted to sign a similar agreement with the Syndicate of magazine press publishers (SEPM) and, in the long term, with the specialized press and press agencies. “The company has long had a posture of defiance vis-à-vis these rules. But seeing the reactions of the legislative authorities, she changed her mindset: she has no choice but to negotiate,” supports Frédéric Sardain.
There is still the question of the few media that have, from 2020, signed autonomous agreements with the platform, such as The world (1 million euros per year) or The Midi Dispatch (around 2 million euros). “Logic dictates that this new global agreement does not cancel the previous ones. In my opinion, each media will be able to choose to keep the rules chosen individually in 2020, or to join the agreement signed this Thursday”, argues François Herpe.
If this signature is a step forward in the application of neighboring rights in France, it does not set their amounts in stone, according to Frédéric Sardain: “It does not seem impossible to me that, in a few years, they will be reviewed according to the reality of the traffic on the Internet pages concerned. The objective will always be that everyone finds their account. »