The showdown for copyright reform is finally over?

The showdown for copyright reform is finally over?


An agreement on the remuneration of online press publications was signed on January 21, 2021 between Google France and the General Information Press Alliance (APIG), comprising almost 300 press titles. This agreement comes after the promulgation, in France, of the law of July 24, 2019 on the respect of neighboring rights.

After two years of tough negotiations, the European institutions definitively approved the copyright directive on April 15, 2019. The European Union thus validates the principle of better remuneration for artists and press publishers from traffic generated by their content on platforms like Google or YouTube. In France, these provisions apply since October 24, 2019.

In April 2020, the Competition Authority asked Google to negotiate (new window) with publishers and press agencies the remuneration due under the law on neighboring rights for the resumption of their protected content.

It is in this context that, on January 21, 2021, the agreement between APIG and Google France on the use of online press publications was signed (new window). The media concerned must deal with political and general information online.

The world, Release, Le Figaro, Humanity, West France, South West, Latest News from Alsace, Nice Matin… In total, 283 national and regional press titles, weekly and daily (new window), grouped within the APIG, will be able to claim remuneration from Google.

Furthermore, Google announced wanting open more access to the newspapers on his interface clean Going throughGoogle News Showcase“, A tool provided to the media so that they highlight their news articles in a suitable format. The interface offers a starting point for reading an article and refers the reader to the editorial source, guaranteeing increased traffic for content producers.

These advances are a step towards Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Law (DMA), whose draft European regulations (new window), published by the European Commission on December 15, aim to establish a more restrictive regulatory framework for the digital giants. The Commission hopes to achieve their adoption in early 2022.

Two crucial articles were finally voted:

– article 15, which opens up a “neighboring right” for press publishers,

– article 17, which establishes the automatic filtering of works

This directive called ” Copyright »Aims to adapt copyright to the digital age – the last legislation dates from 2001 and it is obvious that it has become obsolete given the development of GAFA. The aim was to harmonize respect for copyright and freedom of expression on the Internet, while granting everyone “fair” remuneration.

The GAFA, the monopoly

The giants of the Net took advantage of their establishment to occupy the monopoly and become essential intermediaries between the public and the media, and to take the media prisoners. Indeed, 47% of their readers consult extracts on these platforms – such as for example, a video subject on Twitter -, without clicking on the site of the original media which means that the advertising revenues go into the pockets of the giants of the net. . Google and Facebook thus monopolize more than 90% of digital advertising revenue in France. It is obvious that this situation could not last because it could lead to the disengagement of the authors who blatantly lost their income and therefore destroy the Culture protected until then by copyright.

According to Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the European Commission, and Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, in their press release, this text “ ensures the right balance between the interests of all stakeholders – users, creators, authors, press – while putting in place proportionate obligations on online platforms.

This “neighboring right” for press publishers, a sort of variation of copyright. It should allow newspapers, magazines, but also press agencies like AFP – which consider themselves looted of their content by news feeds, like Google News -, to be paid for online reuse, even partial, of their production.

But the fear is that the GAFA do not have just one trick up their sleeve?

And be ready to bypass this already legislation which causes them to lose a considerable source of income. If the European Union requires them to pay a fee to be able to use links that lead to media sites, the idea would be that they offer to host the content themselves and Facebook has already started this kind of process. It will therefore be necessary to be ceaselessly vigilant to avoid manipulations that would go against the direction of the law passed.

And what about automatic filtering of works?

Article 17 wants to force platforms – beyond three years of existence and 10 million euros in turnover or in some cases, 5 million users – to enter into licensing agreements with beneficiaries for better remuneration. The hosts will have to put in place technologies whose objective will be to automatically detect songs or audiovisual works identified by the rights holders which will allow them or not to authorize their publications on their platform. This article imposes an automatic filtering of works, even before their publication. This is an important step forward in respecting copyright.

What about start-ups?

SACEM, Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers, in a press release underlined ” The text creates a general exception for startups whose development will be encouraged by clarifying their situation for the use of content protected by copyright. It strengthens the protection of Internet users by explicitly prohibiting any general surveillance. The text protects “memes” and “gifs”, guaranteeing exceptions to copyright such as quotes, reviews, cartoons, parodies, etc.. ”



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