The French are being accused of accepting a deal with Google too soon. Publishers announced that they have made an agreement with the Internet giant regarding use of their content online. The deal between French publishers and Google will create a fund worth $80 million, over three years, to help publishers develop their digital units. Both sides said this will strengthen the relationship between publishers and Google, which has been tense in recent times.
Francois Hollande, President of France and Eric E. Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, signed a deal recently that could serve as a model for other countries. However, members of the European Publishers Council criticized the French publishers for closing a business agreement that has no statutory standing. Angela Mills Wade, executive director of the publishers council, doesn’t feel the deal addresses issues about the unauthorized reuse and monetization of content. Ms. Wade also pointed out that the deal fails to provide the online press with financial certainty and overlooks any plans for legal redress needed to create strong business models.
Anja Pasquay, a spokeswoman for the German Newspaper Publishers’ Association, says the French position on the subject is not one acceptable to German publishers. Germany has been pushing Google to share the earnings it receives with online news publishers. There is a proposed law on the books now that would give a new form of copyright to digital publishers. If the law is enacted, it will give publishers the ability to charge search engines or aggregators for using snippets of their articles.
Marc Schwartz of Mazars, a consulting firm is acting as mediator in the talks. “This agreement can help accelerate the move toward greater advertising revenues in the digital world,” said Mr. Schwartz. Google says it will provide assistance to publishers, showing them how to use its digital advertising services more effectively. Engineers from Google will also be involved with helping publishers that receive funds develop their proposals. Those who represented the publishers in the talks acknowledged the deal is “a compromise.” They also feel that it’s important to have some recognition of the value of their content.