In an unprecedented move, the globally recognized news agency, Agence France-Presse (AFP), has launched a copyright case against Twitter’s successor, X. The legal action took place on Wednesday in France and comes amid the ongoing global struggle to get tech firms to pay for the news.
Media conglomerates have long contended that their stories and images bring significant value to platforms such as X, Facebook, and Google. In turn, these media groups believe they deserve a share of the profits. Their argument found support in a 2019 EU law, which provided provisions for payments for content sharing under a regime known as “neighbouring rights”. Google and Facebook subsequently agreed to pay some French media outlets, acknowledging the value they gained from these media contents.
However, AFP has accused X, now under the ownership of billionaire Elon Musk, of a “clear refusal” to discuss these neighbouring rights. AFP is resolute in its commitment to the cause, as shown in a statement they released.
The news agency lodged a case with a judge in Paris, with the intent to compel X to provide data that would enable AFP to calculate a fair compensation level. They emphasize their continued commitment to the fair distribution of value generated by news content sharing. AFP’s stand on this matter has been firm and consistent, indicating a willingness to employ all legal means necessary to achieve this goal.
On contacting X, there was no immediate response. However, Elon Musk called the lawsuit “bizarre” in a post on X the following Thursday.
In France, media groups have had some victories in this matter, but in other regions, big tech firms have been aggressively resisting. Just this week, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, blocked users in Canada from viewing posts from news organisations in response to a law that mandates compensation for content. Google also issued threats of similar action. Both Meta and Google have opposed similar proposals in Australia.
These two firms, holding a dominant position in online advertising, have been accused of syphoning cash from traditional news organisations while using their content for free. X, as a relatively smaller platform, has not encountered the same degree of scrutiny until now.
The news is based on an article from thestar.com.my.