Musk Calls Lawsuit From News Agency 'Bizarre'

AFP says social media site isn't complying with French law on paying news producers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2023 7:31 AM CDT
French News Agency Sues Elon Musk's X
A large, metal "X" sign is seen on top of the downtown building that housed what was once Twitter in San Francisco, Friday, July 28, 2023.   (AP Photo/Haven Daley)

French news agency Agence France-Presse is taking legal action against the social media site formerly known as Twitter, saying X has failed to enter negotiations over potential payment for sharing of AFP content. The lawsuit filed in Paris on Wednesday seeks to compel X to hand over information that would let the news agency determine what compensation it believes would be fair, Al Jazeera reports. European Union intellectual property rules on "neighboring rights," which became part of French law in 2019, allow news publishers to seek payment from online platforms for the sharing of content, reports the AP.

"As a leading advocate for the adoption of neighboring rights for the press, AFP remains unwavering in its commitment to the cause, even four years after the law's adoption," the agency said in a statement. AFP said the legal action followed "clear refusal" from X to enter discussions. Elon Musk called the case "bizarre." "They want us to pay *them* for traffic to their site where they make advertising revenue and we don't!?" he tweeted. Reuters reports that Google's parent company was fined more than $500 million by French regulators in 2021 for failing to comply with the law. Alphabet later reached deals with AFP and other publishers.

In response to a similar law in Canada, Meta has been blocking news content for Canadian users of its platforms, the CBC reports. The company, which had already been blocking news availability for some Facebook and Instagram users in the country, said this week that the block was being extended nationwide. Bill C-18, which was passed by lawmakers in June but has yet to come into force, requires major social media sites to pay news producers for their content. It was modeled on a similar law in Australia, which led to Meta blocking news content in the country before it struck a deal with the Australian government. (More Twitter stories.)

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