On Thursday, Facebook announced that it has signed an initial copyright agreement with lobbyists for several French news publishers. This paves the way for Facebook to pay for the news content it uses on its online platforms in France.
This initial agreement includes a document that consists of a few pages, referred to as a “term sheet,” says a close source. It comes after months of discussions between the tech company and Alliance de la press d’information generale (APIG), which is a lobby that represents several of France’s leading daily newspapers such as Le Figaro, Les Echos and Le Monde.
According to the same source, the preliminary agreement details the main principles and the copyright fees that will be payable to each of the members. This term sheet will be followed by a framework accord that allows APIG member organizations to sign separate copyright licenses with Facebook.
There will be two sorts of licenses. One will be for using news content on Facebook’s primary platform. The other will be for the company’s upcoming Facebook News service. For this new service, Facebook will curate stories from a chosen set of publications.
APIG reached a similar agreement with Google, whose parent company is Alphabet. In that deal, the payment for news content was tied to the use of the company’s “News Showcase” service. This condition was condemned by the Autorité de la concurrence, France’s competition regulator.
Facebook News in France is set to launch in 2022.
The social media company did not provide details about the copyright agreement. According to Louis Dreyfus, head of Le Monde group, the newspaper has signed a licensing agreement with Facebook for use of its news content.
The deal between Facebook and APIG comes after France’s early adoption of a directive by the European Union that creates a “neighboring rights” rule for online news content. The hope is to compel large internet platforms to negotiate with news publishers to come to an agreement regarding a payment scheme for online news distribution.