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France fines Google £425m for failing to negotiate with media companies over the use of their content

France fines Google £425m for failing to negotiate with media companies over the use of their content

 

France has fined Google £425million for failing to negotiate ‘in good faith’ with media companies over the use of their content under EU copyright rules.

It is the biggest fine ever imposed by France’s competition regulator for a company’s failure to adhere to one of its rulings.

The long-running legal row focuses on claims Google has been showing articles, pictures and videos produced by media groups when displaying search results without adequate compensation.

The move comes amid a wider battle to force Google and online platforms to pay for news content following the seismic shift of advertising revenue online.

The Competition Authority also threatened fines of another £750,000 per day if Google doesn’t come up with proposals within two months on how it will compensate publishers and news agencies for their content.

The watchdog’s president Isabelle de Silva said: ‘When the authority imposes injunctions on companies, they are required to apply them scrupulously, respecting their letter and their spirit. In the present case, this was unfortunately not the case.

‘Google’s negotiations with publishers and press agencies cannot be regarded as having been conducted in good faith.’

A Google spokesperson said in a statement to AFP that the company was ‘very disappointed’ by the decision.
‘We have acted in good faith during the entire negotiation period. This fine does not reflect the efforts put in place, nor the reality of the use of news content on our platform,’ the company insisted.

‘This decision is mainly about negotiations that took place between May and September 2020. Since then, we have continued to work with publishers and news agencies to find common ground.’

 

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