Google hit with EUR 500 million fine by France’s Competition Authority

Google was fined because, in the authority’s view, it failed to do this.

Google has been hit with a 500 million euros fine by France’s Competition Authority for failing to negotiate in good faith with news organisations over the use of their content. The authority accused Google of not taking an order to do so seriously. The fine is the latest skirmish in a global copyright battle between tech firms and news organisations.

Last year, the French Competition Authority ordered that Google must negotiate deals with news organisations to show extracts of articles in search results, news and other services.

Google was fined because, in the authority’s view, it failed to do this.

In 2019, France became the first EU country to transpose a new Digital Copyright Directive into law. The law governed so-called neighbouring rights which are designed to compensate publishers and news agencies for the use of their material.

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

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

The new ruling means that within the next two months Google must come up with proposals explaining how it will recompense companies for the use of their news.

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

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