AFP Is Suing Musk’s X Social Media Citing A Refusal To Discuss Payment For News

Elon Musk’s social media platform, formerly known as Twitter but now referred to as “X,” is facing legal trouble in France.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) has taken legal action against “X.” The news agency claims that X has been uncooperative in discussing the implementation of neighboring rights for the press, designed to ensure remuneration for news agencies and publishers when their content is shared on digital platforms.

AFP has expressed its commitment to advocating for adopting neighboring rights for the press, but X’s stance has compelled the news agency to resort to legal means. Seeking an urgent injunction from the Judicial Court of Paris, AFP aims to obtain all necessary elements to calculate the remuneration owed under the neighboring rights legislation.

The European Union extended copyright law in 2019 to cover article excerpts and most news content snippets shared on digital platforms. This extension also includes other content produced by news publishers, such as photographs, videos, and infographics, and the coverage lasts for two years from the publication date.

Elon Musk responded to AFP’s lawsuit with confusion, stating that the news agency wants X to pay them for driving traffic to their site, where they earn advertising revenue. Musk argues that X does not receive advertising revenue from AFP’s content, so paying for traffic seems counterintuitive.

In the past, Google faced issues with France’s neighboring rights legislation and was fined by the competition authority for not fairly negotiating payments to news publishers for content reuse. Google eventually reached agreements with publishers to pay for content reuse.

While Google’s dominant position in search services prompted regulatory intervention, X’s relatively minor user base makes such intervention less likely. Additionally, Google had attempted to bypass the law by refusing to display news snippets without free-reuse permission, leading to accusations of abuse of a dominant position.

Similar legal requirements for remuneration negotiations with publishers exist in Australia and Canada. However, Meta (formerly Facebook) and Google have resisted the measures and even threatened to withdraw news availability in Canada rather than comply with the law.

As digital platforms grapple with regulations and legal obligations regarding news content remuneration, debates surrounding fair revenue sharing and content reuse persist globally.

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