Google fined €500m by French contest authority

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Google has been hit with a €500m (£427m) fine by France’s competition authority for failing to barter “in good faith” with news organizations over the utilization of their content.

The authority accused Google of not taking an order to try to do so seriously.

Google told the BBC the choice “ignores our efforts to succeed in an agreement”.

The fine is that the latest skirmish during a global copyright battle between tech firms and news organizations.

Last year, the French competition authority ordered that Google must negotiate deals with news organizations to point out extracts of articles in search results, news, and other services.

Google was fined because, within the authority’s view, it did not do that.

In 2019, France became the primary EU country to transpose a replacement Digital Copyright Directive into law.

The law governed so-called “neighboring rights” which are designed to compensate publishers and news agencies for the utilization of their material.

As a result, Google decided it might not show content from EU publishers in France, on services like search and news, unless publishers agreed to allow them to do so freed from charge.

News organizations felt this was an abuse of Google’s market power, and two organizations representing press publishers and Agence France-Presse (AFP) complained to the competition authority.

Google told the BBC: “We are very disappointed with this decision – we’ve acted in straightness throughout the whole process.”

It said that it’s, to date, the sole company to possess announced agreements on so-called neighboring rights.

It added it had been close to finalizing an agreement with AFP that has a worldwide contract and payments for press publications.

The new ruling means within subsequent two months Google must come up with proposals explaining how it’ll recompense companies for the utilization of their news.

Should this fail to happen the corporate could face additional fines of €900,000 per day.

“When the authority decrees an obligation for a corporation, it must comply scrupulously,” said the competition authority’s Isabelle de Silva during a statement.

“Here, this was unfortunately not the case,” she wrote.

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