Google Says It Will Pay Some Publishers for News Content

The Google exhibit at the CES tech show in Las Vegas on Jan. 8 shows off a variety of devices with Google Assistant, including Android smartphones and Wear OS smartwatches. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — Google will pay partnered media publishers in three countries and offer some users free access to paywalled news sites, the company said Thursday.

The announcement came after legal battles in France and Australia over Google’s refusal to pay news organizations for content.

Google said in a blog post it would launch “a licensing program to pay publishers for high-quality content for a new news experience,” starting later this year.

Brad Bender, Google’s vice president of product management, said the company has been in discussions with partnered publishers — including the Spiegel Group in Germany, Schwartz media in Australia and Brazil’s Diários Associados — for several months, “with more to come.”

“Google will also offer to pay for free access for users to read paywalled articles on a publisher’s site,” the statement said, without offering details.

Bender said the program will help publishers “monetize their content.”

He said it would build on the 2018 Google News Initiative, a $300 million project that aimed to tackle disinformation online and help news sites grow financially.

It comes after growing calls for internet tech giants, notably Google, to pay for content.

A number of European and global publications, including Agence France-Presse, have called on the European Union to adopt laws requiring internet companies to pay for the material they produce.

In April, France’s competition regulator said Google must start paying media groups for displaying their content, ordering it to begin negotiations after refusing for months to comply with Europe’s new digital copyright law.

This month Google rejected an Australian ruling that it pay hundreds of millions of dollars per year in compensation to local news media under a government-imposed revenue-sharing deal.

© Agence France-Presse

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