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AFP Files Lawsuit Against Elon Musk-Owned X (Formerly Twitter) Over Copyright Dispute

Elon Musk’s company, formerly known as Twitter and now called “X,” is facing legal action in France under copyright law. The Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency is suing the social media platform for refusing to engage in discussions about compensating AFP for the sharing of its news content on X.

AFP stated that it seeks an urgent injunction from a Paris court to force X to provide the necessary information on how its content is reused so that AFP can calculate the appropriate remuneration under France’s neighboring rights legislation.

The neighboring rights legislation was established by the European Union in 2019 and incorporated into French law in July of the same year. It extends copyright protection to cover excerpts of news content shared on digital platforms, including text, photographs, videos, and infographics, for up to two years after publication.

In response to AFP’s lawsuit, Elon Musk wrote on X, questioning the idea of paying them for traffic to their site when they make advertising revenue, and X does not.

Google has also faced issues with France’s neighboring rights legislation in the past. The national antitrust authority fined Google over half a billion dollars after complaints from publishers, including AFP, about unfair negotiations regarding payments for content reuse. Google settled the dispute by making behavioral commitments and signing deals to pay publishers for reuse of their content.

While Google’s case triggered intervention from the competition authority due to its dominant position in search services, X’s situation may be different. X does not hold a dominant position in general search or social media services, where rival platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have more users.

Countries like Australia and Canada have also passed laws requiring tech platforms to negotiate with publishers for fair revenue sharing over news content. Meta (formerly Facebook) and Google have lobbied against these measures in Canada and Australia, even suggesting they might withdraw news availability rather than comply with the laws.

In summary, AFP is taking legal action against Elon Musk’s company X for not discussing compensation for the use of its news content on the platform, citing the neighboring rights legislation in France. Similar issues have arisen with other tech giants like Google and Meta in different regions with news bargaining laws.