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Alphabet-owned Google has signed agreements with more than 300 European Union news publications, with many more discussions ongoing, the company said Wednesday.

Publishers in Germany including ZEIT, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Spiegel, along with others in Hungary, France, Austria, the Netherlands and Ireland have signed up to the agreement with the search engine, Google said in a blog post on Wednesday. The post did not reveal how much Google would pay for the deals.

The European Copyright Directive, which came into force in 2019, was the culmination of an effort from the European Union to ensure publishers from inside the bloc are compensated for their content. The copyright law, which is being rolled out across the region by each country, allows publishers to ask for payment whenever online platforms use their content. The new rules have allowed news outlets to negotiate with web platforms such as Google and Facebook over the reproduction of their content.

In 2021, Google entered an agreement with German publishers to create a criteria for payments to publishers with an exemption for hosting small extracts of stories, which can be used free of charge. Google is now expanding the roll-out of these agreements through a web tool, to facilitate future deals with publishers.

Google launched a new tool to make offers to thousands more news publishers, starting in Germany and Hungary, and rolling out to other EU countries over the coming months.

The directive allows search engines like Google to freely link to, and use “very short extracts" of press publishers' content. The law also creates new rights for publishers when longer previews of their content are used online - but without defining what exactly a short extract or a longer preview is.

Despite this uncertainty, Google announced last year that it will pay news publishers for content which goes beyond links and short extracts, as it is already doing in countries such as Germany.

Through this new tool, which will be available via the Search Console, publishers will be offered an Extended News Preview (ENP) agreement with Google for this content. This will include information about what the offer is for, how to sign up and how to provide feedback.

All offers are based on consistent criteria which respect the law and existing copyright guidance, including how often a news website is displayed and how much ad revenue is generated on pages that also display previews of news content.

As always, publishers continue to have full control over whether or not their content appears in Google Search and how that content can be previewed. Publishers can change their preferences and enroll in the ENP program at any time.

Alongside negotiations, Google said it will continue to invest in products and programs to provide even more support for journalism in Europe and around the world.

It recently announced the Innovation Challenge for Europe and the Google News Initiative Subscriptions Academy which provides publishers with an intense 8-month program focused on digital growth.

(With inputs from Bloomberg)

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