London (CNN Business)Google will pay news publications in France for the use of their content online in a landmark agreement that could soon be replicated elsewhere in Europe under new copyright laws.
The tech company and APIG, which represents French news media, said in a joint statement on Thursday that they have agreed on principles for how news publications should be compensated for the distribution of their content on Google (GOOGL) platforms after months of talks.
Google has long tussled with publishers over how it displays their content, with media companies arguing the search giant should pay them for the privilege.
When new rules went into effect last year in France requiring publishers to be paid for snippets of news stories displayed in search results, Google announced it would only display headlines. In April, the French competition authority ruled that Google had abused its market dominance and ordered the company to negotiate with French publishers.
Google and APIG said on Thursday that compensation will be based on criteria such as “the publisher’s contribution to political and general information, the daily volume of publications, and its monthly internet traffic,” they added. The statement did not provide details on how much publishers would be paid.
Google will now negotiate licensing agreements with individual publishers. It has already signed deals with a handful of daily newspapers and magazines, including leading titles such as Le Monde and Le Figaro.
APIG President Pierre Louette, who is also CEO of Les Echos Le Parisien, which publishes France’s oldest financial newspaper, said the agreement recognizes the rights of publishers to copyright protection and marks “the beginning of their remuneration by digital platforms for the use of their online publications.”
The European Union overhauled its copyright laws in 2019, making platforms such as Google (GOOG) and YouTube responsible for copyright infringements committed by their users. The new rules, which were fiercely contested, also require search engines and social media platforms to share revenue with publishers if their content is displayed.
France is the only EU country so far to have translated the Copyright Directive into national law, but other EU countries are expected to follow before an implementation deadline of June 7 this year.
Google announced last year that it would pay publishers more than $1 billion over the next three years through a new program for licensing news that could help struggling newsrooms, which have lost advertising dollars to social media platforms. Google has signed agreements with nearly 450 publications across a dozen countries so far, the majority of which are local and regional.
Australia has also moved to introduce laws requiring tech giants to pay for displaying news content. The government slammed Google last week for preventing local news websites from appearing in some searches, according to the BBC. Asked for comment on Thursday, Google said it was “currently running a few experiments” on search users in Australia to “measure the impacts of news businesses and Google Search on each other.”
— Hadas Gold contributed to this article.
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