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Google has been fined half a million Euros by France’s competition authority and could see additional daily fines of €900,000 until a resolution is implemented.

On Tuesday 13th July 2021, France’s antitrust authority issued Google a fine to the tune of €500 million, which equates to $593M, for failing to negotiate with publishers in good faith regarding showcasing news.

A Summary Of The Story So Far

In April 2020, the French Competition Authority won a case against Google which meant the Search Engine would have to compensate French news publishers to utilize their content.

The ruling also referred to a disagreement that took place in 2019, whereby Google was required to negotiate with French news organizations and agree on a fair payment system.

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In response, Google stopped showing snippets of French news in its search results pages temporarily.

The case defeat meant that Google had three months to negotiate in good faith and find a resolution that would remunerate publishers in France for the use of images, titles, and snippets in their results.

In January the following year, an agreement was struck regarding negotiating individual license agreements with publications recognized as ‘Political and General information’.

Payments would be agreed upon depending on metrics such as subscriptions or daily visits.

In an announcement from the tech giant, Google also discussed the Google News Showcase, which would be a platform that would facilitate payment for their licenses.

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Google invested $1 billion into this news platform, but it appears it has not been enough to satisfy France’s antitrust authority.

It is the ‘good faith’ negotiations demanded in 2020 that Google has been accused of ignoring.

What Exactly Is Google Accused Of?

Google has been accused of disregarding several injunctions stemming from the April 2020 dispute. It is claimed to have:

    1. Not negotiated in good faith with publishers and press agencies.
    2. Not fulfilled its obligation to communicate with press agencies and publishers the necessary information for “a transparent assessment” of due remuneration.
    3. Violated its obligation to negotiate neutrally regarding classification, indexing, and presenting press agencies and publisher’s protected content relating to neighboring rights.
    4. Violated its obligation to negotiate neutrally regarding maintaining economic relationships with press agencies and publishers relating to neighboring rights.

    You can read the full release here.

    What’s Next?

    Following the fine, Google has been granted two months to create proposals to compensate French news publishers.

    If the tech giant fails to comply, the French authorities could issue further fines of €900,000 per day, which equates to approximately $1.065 million daily.

    This isn’t the only dispute Google has experienced recently regarding the fair payment of publishers. It has also been forced to pay Australian media companies to use their content, along with Facebook.

    Unfortunately for Google, other countries around the world could be closely watching this situation unfold as a guide on how to ensure publishers and press agencies within their borders are appropriately remunerated for their online news stories.



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