Paris-based global news agency AFP (Agence France-Presse) has taken legal action against X (Twitter), the popular micro-blogging platform owned by Elon Musk, alleging a lack of discussion concerning compensation for the distribution of AFP’s news content.
The lawsuit, filed in Paris, is rooted in France’s “neighbouring rights” copyright law, enacted in 2019, which requires major online platforms to negotiate with publishers to secure fair payment for news content.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter’s parent company, criticized AFP’s lawsuit, deeming it peculiar. Musk contended that AFP was seeking payment for traffic generated to their website through Twitter, despite benefiting from advertising revenue in return. The dispute highlights the ongoing tension between news publishers and social media giants over the use of copyrighted material and the fair remuneration of news organizations for their content.
This legal action is not the first of its kind in France. In 2021, the country’s antitrust watchdog, in response to similar issues, fined Alphabet’s Google a substantial 500 million euros for failing to adhere to orders regarding communication with French news publishers. Google has since taken measures to resolve the matter, reaching agreements with various leading French news organizations, including AFP, to compensate them appropriately for the usage of their news content.
In a similar vein, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has also made strides in this direction, securing deals with certain French publishers for their social media platforms.