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Google agrees 5-year deal to pay AFP for online content: executives

·2-min read
Under the agreement with Google, AFP will also offer fact-checking training on several continents (AFP/Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD)

Google and Agence France-Presse on Wednesday said they had signed a "pioneering" five-year deal under which the world’s biggest internet search company will pay an undisclosed sum for content in Europe.

The agreement following 18 months of negotiations is the first by a news agency under the 2019 European directive on so-called neighbouring rights, which are at the heart of multiple disputes globally between web giants and the media over payment for use of online news and other content.

"This is an agreement that covers the whole of the EU, in all of AFP's languages, including in countries that have not enacted the directive," said AFP CEO Fabrice Fries, describing the deal as "pioneering" and the “culmination of a long struggle".

AFP produces and distributes multimedia content to its clients in six languages around the world.

After initially being reluctant to pay French newspapers for the use of their content, Google finally signed a three-year framework agreement with some of the nation’s press in early 2021, but was fined 500 million euros ($566 million) by the competition authority in mid-July for not negotiating "in good faith".

Google has appealed, and is continuing negotiations to reach a new agreement.

AFP had fought for news agencies to be fully eligible to benefit from neighbouring rights agreements, Fries said, adding that Wednesday’s deal “will contribute to the production of quality information and the development of innovation within the agency”.

"This agreement with Agence France-Presse demonstrates our willingness to find common ground with publishers and press agencies in France on the topic of neighbouring rights,” said Sebastien Missoffe, Google's general manager in France, adding that the pact “paves the way for even closer collaboration”.

Under the agreement AFP will also offer fact-checking training on several continents, details of which will be announced soon, the companies said in a statement.

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