An appeals court has confirmed that Google must begin talks with French publishers about paying to use their content. The decision will likely lead to an industry-wide deal in France, the echoes from which may soon be felt by publishers all over the world. 

What’s happening?

In March 2019, the European Parliament vote decreed that publishers will have the opportunity to negotiate with major technology platforms such as Google for use of their content at a fair price.

It was ruled that search engines and news aggregation platforms must pay to use third-party content, and platform owners became responsible for any content posted without a copyright license. Here, ‘use’ mainly refers to headlines and meta descriptions that appear in Google’s search results pages.

As of Thursday, October 8, 2020, Google is legally obliged to have these conversations with publishers based in France. Publishers can now use them to demand a fee for showing their news snippets.

Last week, Google pledged to invest $1 billion over three years to start paying news publishers for content and to support the launch of a new product dubbed the “Google News Showcase.”

This new ruling, however, is different, as it will mean finding a sustainable way to compensate publishers forever, after three years of Google News Showcase remunerations has expired. 

Google is required to open remuneration talks within three months of being asked to do so by publishers. Given that this is such a recent development, there are no reports from publishers on the success of this arrangement. We’ll be sure to update this article as soon as there are.