Agence France-Presse (AFP) has filed a lawsuit against X, previously known as Twitter, and its owner Elon Musk. The issue at hand revolves around X’s refusal to negotiate the payment for featuring AFP’s news articles on its platform. This lack of negotiation stands in contradiction to a French law from 2019, which extended the copyright law to content produced by news publishers such as articles and videos, for a period of two years post-release. According to this law, websites distributing such copyrighted content must negotiate a compensation plan with the publishers, rather than sharing the content freely without remuneration for the content creators.
Elon Musk expressed his frustration in a tweet, exclaiming, “This is bizarre. They want us to pay them for traffic to their site where they make advertising revenue and we don’t!?” – Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 3, 2023
AFP’s press release elucidated their concerns about X’s open refusal to discuss the enforcement of neighbouring press rights. These rights were created to ensure that news agencies and publishers receive adequate compensation from digital platforms, which primarily benefit from the monetary value generated by the distribution of news content.
AFP has previously engaged in legal confrontations with other tech giants. In 2020, France’s competition authority demanded Google negotiate with publishers, and while an agreement was achieved in early 2021, Google was later fined €500 million ($546 million) for failing to reach a fair agreement. Google’s dominant position in the search market, with a 90 percent share, raised concerns about potential abuse of power. Although X does not wield as much influence in this domain of the internet, it remains to be seen whether it will face similar challenges.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about AFP Lawsuit against X
Who is suing X (formerly known as Twitter)?
The Agence France-Presse (AFP) is suing X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
What is the reason for the lawsuit?
The lawsuit was filed because X, under the ownership of Elon Musk, has allegedly not engaged in discussions about payment for the usage of AFP’s news articles on the X platform, which is a requirement according to French copyright law established in 2019.
What does the 2019 French law say?
The 2019 French law extended copyright protections to content created by news publishers, like text and videos, for two years after release. Websites that distribute this work are required to negotiate compensation with the content creators instead of sharing the content freely.
How has Elon Musk responded to the lawsuit?
Elon Musk expressed his frustration on Twitter, questioning why he should have to pay AFP when they make advertising revenue from the increased traffic to their site that X brings, while X does not.
Has the AFP sued other tech companies before?
Yes, AFP has previously taken legal action against Google. In 2020, France’s competition authority ordered Google to negotiate with publishers over compensation for their content. Despite reaching an agreement in early 2021, Google was fined €500 million ($546 million) later that year for not reaching a fair agreement.