Facebook and French publishers reach deal on remuneration of news content

Press publishers will even be able to feature in Facebook news, a new space on the social network which will be launched in January 2022, Facebook also said. [chainarong06/Shutterstock]

Facebook and the French publishers’ lobby, known as Alliance de la Presse d’Information Générale (APIG), have reached an agreement on the remuneration of journalistic content posted on the US giant’s platform, the two announced on Thursday (21 October). EURACTIV France reports.

After several years of “constructive discussions”, Facebook said it had reached a licensing agreement with some of the French press publishers after a French law of 2019, based on an EU directive, introduced a neighbouring right for press agencies and publishers into the country’s Intellectual Property Code.

France was the first EU country to transpose the EU directive.

“The terms we have reached will allow Facebook to apply the directive and French law, while generating significant funding for the Alliance’s publishers, particularly the smallest ones,” said Pierre Louette, the president of APIG, which represents a large number of French publications including Le Monde, Le Figaro and Libération.

Press publishers will also be able to feature in Facebook news, a new space on the social network that will be launched in January 2022, Facebook also said.

But neither the remuneration levels nor the calculation methods have been made public so far.

“Our constructive dialogue with the Alliance and the news media sector in France is a testament to what we can achieve by working together on a solution that fairly considers the value of an increasingly digital news landscape, and the role Facebook can play in it,” said Jesper Doub, director of news partnerships for Facebook in Europe.

While this agreement represents a first victory for the French press, only some are concerned by it. Other, more laborious negotiations with Google are still underway.

Google 'determined to find solution' on 'neighbouring rights' for French press

I am “determined to find a solution” at a time when a new collective management body for press publishers is due to be created, Google France managing director, Sébastien Missoffe told French senators on Wednesday (23 June), adding that he “recognises neighbouring rights”.

More negotiations – this time with Google 

On 13 July, the French Competition Authority fined Google €500 million for failing to negotiate “in good faith” with press publishers.

A new and much-anticipated collective management organisation is to facilitate negotiations. Chaired by former MEP Jean-Marie Cavada, the organisation recently welcomed France Télévisions, TF1 and M6 as members and is due to start talks with Google in November, according to La Lettre A.

The organisation’s first major project is to evaluate the revenue generated, directly or indirectly, by press content on platforms.

“If we look at the extent of the predations, it is probably between €800 million and €1 billion that escape the economy of democracy through the press,” Cavada said during a hearing at the National Assembly last month.

[Edited by Luca Bertuzzi/Zoran Radosavljevic]

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