French news publishers sign landmark copyright deal with Google
French media groups have signed a digital copyright deal with Google under which the US tech giant will pay publishers for news previews.
The accord signed with the APIG alliance of French dailies comes after months of heated negotiations and involves "neighbouring rights", which call for payment for showing news content with internet searches.
The agreement allows Google to thrash out individual licence deals with newspapers on the payments and will give papers access to Google's new News Showcase programme, whereby Google pays publishers for a selection of enriched content.
The deal covers papers that carry political and general news, a joint statement said.
APIG head Pierre Louette, who is also chief executive of the business newspaper Les Echos, said the deal amounts to the effective recognition of neighbouring rights for the press.
Google France chief Sebastien Missoffe called the deal proof of a commitment that opened up new perspectives.
News outlets struggling with dwindling print subscriptions have been angry about Google's failure to give them a cut of the millions it makes from adverts displayed alongside news search results.
A Paris appeals court ruled in October that Google had to continue to negotiate with French news publishers over a new European law on neighbouring rights.
France was the first country in the EU to enact the law but Google initially refused to comply, saying media groups already benefited by receiving millions of visits to their websites.
In November, Google said it had reached individual agreements with a number of leading publications, such as Le Monde, Le Figaro, Liberation and L'Express.
But other newspapers remained without an accord - as did news agencies including Agence France-Presse (AFP) - and negotiations continued.
"I am delighted that the recognition of neighbouring rights is becoming a reality for the first time in Europe and now that the first step has been taken, we expect Google to keep up its momentum and extend this recognition to other eligible players, including news agencies," said AFP's chief executive Fabrice Fries.
Talks between Google and the print magazine association SEPM, continue.