NME Welcomes French Competition Authority Ruling On Publisher’s Right

News Media Europe has welcomed the interim ruling of the French Competition Authority telling Google to negotiate with press publishers for the reuse and remuneration of press content.

On Thursday last week, the French Competition Authority released its preliminary ruling in favour of press publishers who had sought urgent measures against Google after it refused to pay licence fees under new laws, France having been the first Member State to implement the new publisher’s right.

The News Media Association has led calls for the Publisher’s Right to be implemented into UK law after its inclusion in the EU Copyright Directive, following a major campaign by the NMA, News Media Europe and other bodies across Europe. 

Following the French implementation of the Publisher’s Right, Google was heavily criticised after it unilaterally decided to remove press content from its platforms unless publishers granted licenses for free.

The Competition Authority ordered urgent interim measures on the ground that Google’s behaviour caused serious and immediate harm to the press sector. In addition, Google’s new terms and conditions may constitute an abuse of a dominant position.

The interim measures oblige Google to enter in good faith negotiations with press publishers and news agencies to discuss both the terms of content reuse and the associated remuneration. During the three-month negotiations, Google must provide monthly reports to the authority on how it complies with the decision.

It is open to Google to appeal the ruling.

Wout van Wijk, executive director of News Media Europe, said: “The decision is very good news for French press publishers, and for the European news media industry. Not only does it recognise the true value of press content, it rebalances the relations between content producers and online platforms. We urgently need the implementation of the publishers right throughout Europe”.