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Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Filed Against Elon Musk’s X

The French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) has filed a lawsuit against the Elon Musk-owned X, formerly known as Twitter, for copyright infringement.

In its submissions, AFP relied on the law enacted in 2019, which provides for “neighbouring rights” requiring compensation to news outlets for circulating their content. News outlets have long called for platforms like X, Meta, and Google to share earnings from hosting their content since they are dealing with falling ad revenues.

AFP has approached a court in Paris after the social media platform refused to discuss the payment for distributing the agency’s content.

In an X social media post, Musk termed the lawsuit as “bizarre” and maintained that such distribution of content brings traffic to news agencies’ sites through which they generate advertising revenue.

Google’s parent organisation, Alphabet, agreed to pay French publishers for material that shows in search engine results last year after being fined $547 million by France’s anti-trust authority for neglecting to engage in discussions. After Australia adopted a similar arrangement in 2021, Canada passed legislation in June forcing online platform giants to pay news publishers for the content they publish. In reaction to the legislation, Meta announced on August 1, 2023, that it would block access to news for users of Facebook and Instagram in Canada.