French media progress against X in legal battle over payments

AFP - [email protected]
French media progress against X in legal battle over payments
The logo of US social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)

A Paris court has ruled that social media giant X must provide French media with information about how much money it makes from publishing their content as part of a legal battle over rights payments.


A dozen media outlets including Le Monde, Le Figaro and AFP are seeking payment of so-called neighbouring rights. In 2019, the EU created the form of copyright that allows print media to demand compensation for use of their content.

The ruling orders X (formerly Twitter) to provide the media organisations with data – including the number of views of their information, the number of clicks on the content, as well as data about reader engagement such as retweets, likes and sharing – within two months.

X was required to inform the media about the revenue it generates in France from this information, according to the ruling.

X was also ordered to describe how its algorithms lead it to publishing media content.

The information, which must remain confidential, is necessary for a ‘transparent evaluation’ of the amount the media consider due for publication of their content under neighbouring rights legislation, said the ruling.

The judge handed down the ruling under an accelerated procedure. The media outlets will need to return to court for a ruling forcing X to pay.

AFP’s chief executive Fabrice Fries hailed the ruling as a ‘decisive step’ in getting the new right honoured in practice as it recognises that X is subject to the law.


“The ruling confirms that X/Twitter is subject to neighbouring rights for the media and it forces the platform to provide information required by the law to determine the payments” due to media outlets, he wrote, in a post on X.

Last year the media outlets, which also include the Huffington Post and Les Echos-Le Parisien, filed a suit after X refused to negotiate. A hearing was held on March 4th after mediation efforts failed.

AFP’s lawyer Julien Guinot-Delery called the ruling unprecedented. “X’s obstruction can no longer continue.”

X’s lawyers declined to immediately comment on the ruling.

But during the March hearing, X’s lawyer argued the platform is not subject to the neighbouring rights law, which resulted from an EU directive, as it is users that post content on the platform.

France has been a test case for the EU rules on neighbouring rights and after initial resistance Google and Facebook both agreed to pay some French media for articles shown in web searches.

Despite making payments to media Google was recently fined €250 million for not negotiating in good faith with news publishers and failing to respect some of the promises it had made.



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