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New world. Google and press publishers in talks to develop “premium” content

The Googleplex, Google headquarters in Mountain View, California in the United States. (FRANCOIS LOCHON / GAMMA-RAPHO)

To understand the standoff between Google and press publishers, you have to go back a few months. In October 2019 came into force the law known as “neighboring rights”, an evolution of copyright concerning the press which provides that if a search engine repeats articles, even extracts, it must pay remuneration to the media. original. But of that, Google never wanted to hear about it. No question of paying for links to web pages when you are a search engine.

Suddenly, just before the law came into force last September, the American company put its feet in the dish by announcing that it would pay nothing and that if the media refused to allow free extracts of their publications in “snipppets”, these small boxes appearing at the top of search results, they could now remove them outright. Anger of publishers, especially French, supported by the government in the showdown against the bad Google.

The relationship between Google and content publishers has always been complicated. The search engine brings them visibility that they can no longer do without, Google knows well; but not question to be stripped, to see audience of sites and advertising revenue melt like snow in the sun.

According to Wall street journal, Google is said to have started discussions with publishers. He would be ready to envisage a royalty in return for the articles which he diffuses but within the framework of a kind of “premium” service, via license agreements. As it stands, there is no question of applying the neighboring law as it stands.

Facebook faces the same kind of problem. He also refuses the application of neighboring law but, at the same time, openly displays his interest in information made by professionals. Everyone agrees that solid media and quality content are needed, but it is the economy of these media that is likely to be weakened.

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