Google In Talks with Publishers to Pay for Displaying News

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By Natalia Drozdiak

News publishers have butted heads with Google over copyright

French regulator previously warned Google with legal action

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Alphabet Inc.’s Google is in discussions with publishers about paying licensing fees to include excerpts of their articles in Google News search results.

The early-stage talks are taking place primarily with French and other European publishers, and may not lead to any agreements, a person familiar with the matter said. A deal would apply only to news products like the Google News vertical, they added, not general web content queries.

Google sparked an outcry in France last fall after it said it would show stripped-down French news search results that wouldn’t include article previews or snippets following a new copyright law.

It led French publishers and officials, who had hoped to win compensation from platforms as part of the new law, to accuse the search giant of strong-arming them. French antitrust regulators at the time said they would investigate Google over its implementation of the rules.

News executives have been calling on Facebook Inc. and Google to pay for the rights to host their articles. They argue that their journalism is what’s drawing users to those platforms, while the two tech giants are capturing most of the online ad dollars.

Richard Gingras, Google’s vice president of news, said helping people find quality journalism is “important to informed democracy and helps support a sustainable news industry.”

“We’re talking with partners and looking at more ways to expand our ongoing work with publishers,” he added.

In Europe, Google’s rocky relationships with publishers have led to legal action, long European Union antitrust investigations and an EU copyright directive that allows news outlets to seek payment from internet sites that display their articles. France was the first country to implement the new rules.

In October, Facebook introduced a separate news section in its flagship app and agreed to pay some publishers $1 million to $3 million a year to put their articles in it.

In an earnings call last week, News Corp. Chief Executive Officer Robert Thomson mentioned Google by name, saying there are “positive signs” the search company’s CEO Sundar Pichai “has a thoughtful appreciation for the profound social influence of high quality journalism.”

The Wall Street Journal reported the discussions earlier.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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