France has its “Google Images Tax”

  • The French Parliament has definitively agreed on a text obliging image search engines, such as Google Images, to pay for the reproduction of Images in their search engine. 

The text of the law was promulgated on the 29th.

This is Article 10 quarter Read here

A couple of important points:

- The law does not create any ancillary copyright but recognises that the referencing of Images – here, thumbnails – is an act of reproduction covered by exclusive rights

- The law covers pictures appearing on the first click page of Google Images

- Since these pictures are linked and saved on Google’s servers, but not framed, the law is compliant with positive EU legislation (Info Soc Directive and Safe Harbour requirements in the E-Commerce Directive) and jurisprudence such as the Svensson’s jurisprudence.

- Present limitations set by jurisprudence is the reason why the law is limited to Google Images and does not extend to other search services or aggregators

- A Rights Reproduction Organisation will be nominated by government to handle tarifs negotiations with search engines, collection and distribution of the fees collected – most likely AVA

- Legislation has been seen as the only way to push search engines, foremost Google, to the table of negotiations

- Google Images drives 20% of user traffic on Google i.e. it is a major service on Google and a likely reason why Google might be more open to negotiations under the pressure of legislation

  • Negotations must now take place. Before that happens, the law might be legally challenged. It will therefore take some time before photograhers or photo agencies see a penny.