The Agence France-Presse is suing Elon Musk's X over news content payments

A 2019 French law copyrighted news publishers' content.

FRED DUFOUR via Getty Images

Elon Musk and X, the site formerly known as Twitter, are in more legal trouble. The Agence France-Presse (AFP) is suing X for not engaging in discussions about payment to the French publisher in exchange for its articles appearing on the platform. In 2019, France passed neighboring rights legislation, extending copyright law to content produced by news publishers, such as text and videos, for two years after release. The law requires any sites that share this work to negotiate with the publishers about remuneration instead of sharing it without compensation for its creators.

In its press release, the AFP stated that it has "expressed its concerns over the clear refusal from Twitter (recently rebranded as 'X') to enter into discussions regarding the implementation of neighbouring rights for the press. These rights were established to enable news agencies and publishers to be remunerated by digital platforms which retain most of the monetary value generated by the distribution of news content."

X isn't the first tech company AFP has gone up against. In 2020, France's competition authority ordered Google to enter negotiations with publishers, and, while it reached an agreement in early 2021, the company was fined €500 million ($546 million) later that year for not reaching a fair agreement. In that case, part of the argument was that Google owns 90 percent of the search market, leaving them in a position where they could abuse their power if an equitable deal wasn't reached. Twitter's influence in this area of the internet isn't nearly as strong, so we'll have to wait and see if it will face the same fight.