Google has entered into negotiations to reach license agreements with press publishers, in order to mitigate the critics who accuse the Californian giant of profiting improperly from their information, according to sources close to the discussions.
Negotiations between the search engine and news organizations are just beginning, the publishers concerned being mostly in France and in other European countries, according to these sources.
Paying for information would be a turnaround for the giant of Silicon Valley, much criticized by the media in recent years for posting their content in search results – and earning the advertising revenue associated with them – for no consideration.
Contacted by AFP, Google said Friday looking for new ways to help publishers.
“We want to help people find quality journalism – it is important for a knowledgeable democracy and it helps support a sustainable media world,” said Richard Gingras, Google vice president of news, in a statement.
“This is a subject that is dear to us, and we are talking with partners and looking for new ways to broaden our cooperation with publishers.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is considering deals to develop “premium” information.
Google has always refused to pay for links to articles that appear in search results, and has not changed position on this point, sources familiar with the matter told AFP.
The Californian firm claims that it generates traffic to news sites, and thus helps their publishers to earn advertising revenue.
Through its Google News Initiative program, the giant is already working with publishers to stimulate their audience and their paid subscribers.
Faced with similar criticism, Facebook launched in October a news feed dedicated to “quality” journalism, in order to support the press and stem the flow of disinformation.
The president of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, had then indicated that certain media partners of this operation would be remunerated, but without specifying how much or according to which formulas.
The negotiations launched by Google come as the tech giant is under pressure to comply with a European directive which has created a “neighboring right”, similar to copyright, for the benefit of publishers and news agencies.
Google said last year that it would not pay European media for the use of their articles, images or videos in France, the first country to ratify the directive, opening the door to legal action against the giant.
To comply with French law, it imposed new rules: news sites must accept that the search engine uses free extracts of their news in its results.
Several press organizations including AFP have filed a complaint against Google on the issue of “neighboring law” with the Competition Authority. The latter could make its decision in March.
gc / cat