Google, French publishers sign copyright news payment deal

PARIS (AP) — Google has signed a deal with a group of French publishers paving the way for the internet giant to make digital copyright payments for online news content.

After months of talks, Google France and the Alliance de la Presse d’Information Generale said Thursday that they agreed to set up a framework under which the U.S. company will negotiate individual licensing deals with publishers.

Google has already negotiated a few individual payment deals with some French news publishers such as national daily paper Le Monde and weekly magazine l’Obs.

The company was forced to negotiate with publishers and news agencies for reusing their material online under a “neighboring rights” law that took effect after France became the first country to adopt new European Union copyright rules.

Google had initially balked at paying for news, saying new companies benefited from the millions of readers it sends to their websites. But last year an appeals court ordered the company to open talks with publishers.

Under the framework agreement, payments will be based on criteria such as the amount published daily and monthly internet traffic.

Google did not spell out how much money would be paid to the group’s members.

News companies had pushed for the EU copyright reform amid worries that quality journalism is declining as ad revenue gets siphoned off by the digital giants.