The French competition watchdog has imposed a 500 million euro fine on Google for the use of press articles.
The case revolves around the so-called neighbouring rights to news items, of which the internet giants publish fragments. Google is now being fined for not negotiating “in good faith” with publishers about the compensation for that use of news items.
In addition, Google must also “propose a fee for the use of protected content” to publishers and news agencies for posting news articles on Google News Service. Google has not complied with this, according to the competition authority. If that proposal is not forthcoming, the watchdog can impose penalty payments of up to 900,000 euros per day.
The battle between Google and the French competition authority has been dragging on for years. Previously, the watchdog forced Google to negotiate with publishers about payment for the transfer of work.
It is the largest fine ever imposed by the French competition authority for not respecting one of its decisions, president Isabelle De Silva explained to the press. The sanction considers the extraordinary seriousness of the violation and the behaviour of Google, it sounds.
Google is “very disappointed” by the decision, said a spokesperson, who said that an internet giant had acted “in good faith” during the negotiations. “This fine reflects neither the effort we have made nor the reality of current news use on our platform.”
The fine is linked to negotiations that ran between May and September last year, according to Google. Still, since then, the company has continued to work with publishers and news agencies on neighbouring rights, it said. Those publishers and AFP news agency had approached the French competition watchdog because, according to them, Google is not meeting its obligations.