Paris — AFP news agency launched a copyright case in France on Wednesday against social media giant Twitter, recently rebranded X, part of a global struggle to get tech firms to pay for news.
Media groups have long argued that their stories and images bring value to platforms like X, Facebook and Google, meaning they should get a slice of the profits.
Their cause was boosted by a 2019 EU law that allowed for payments for sharing content under a regime called “neighbouring rights”, and Google and Facebook eventually agreed to pay some French media outlets.
But AFP has accused X, owned by billionaire tycoon Elon Musk, of a “clear refusal” to engage in discussions on neighbouring rights.
AFP said in a statement it had lodged a case with a judge in Paris to force the platform to hand over data that would allow the French news agency to estimate a fair level of compensation.
NEWS: The AFP, a French news agency, has sued X/Twitter over its ” clear refusal” to pay compensation for news link posted to the platform.
AFP said the aim of the case is to force X to hand over data that will allow the agency to estimate a fair level of compensation. pic.twitter.com/SrinCJG1oG
— X News Daily (@xDaily) August 2, 2023
“As a leading advocate for the adoption of neighbouring rights for the press, AFP remains unwavering in its commitment to the cause,” the statement said.
“The Agency will continue to employ the appropriate legal means with each relevant platform to ensure the fair distribution of the value generated by the sharing of news content.”
Contacted by AFP, the company was not immediately available for comment, but on Thursday Musk called the lawsuit “bizarre” in a post on X.
This is bizarre. They want us to pay *them* for traffic to their site where they make advertising revenue and we don’t!?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 3, 2023
Although media groups in France have won some victories, big tech firms have pushed back hard in other regions.
Meta blocked users of Facebook and Instagram in Canada from seeing posts from news organisations this week over a law that mandates compensation for the content.
Google has threatened to take similar action.
Meta and Google also opposed similar proposals in Australia.
The two firms dominate online advertising and stand accused of draining cash away from traditional news organisations while using their content for free.
X, as a much smaller platform, has not faced the same level of scrutiny.
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