In France, Google was fined 500 million euros ($593 million) for failing to comply with a court order to negotiate a fair arrangement with publishers to utilise their news material on its platform.
The Autorité de la concurrence said Tuesday that the Alphabet Inc. business disregarded a 2020 ruling to negotiate in good faith for the presentation of fragments of articles on its Google News service. The punishment is France's second-largest antitrust fine for a single firm.
France isn't the only nation attempting to hold tech behemoths accountable for their use of news. Australia mandated that digital giants like Facebook and Google pay local news publishers earlier this year. With a $1 billion Google News Showcase to direct users to news material, Google has been progressively compensating publishers, albeit on its own terms.
The company is facing a global onslaught as regulators around the world tighten their grip on the world's biggest tech companies, focusing on its advertising, apps, and search businesses. After a court order requiring it to unblock the YouTube account of a TV programme controlled by a US-sanctioned booster of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Google is pursuing an out-of-court solution in Russia.
The French agency's president, Isabelle de Silva, stated, "The fine of 500 million euros takes into account the unusual nature of the breaches observed."
The company is "extremely upset" with the judgement and believes it "operated in good faith throughout the whole process,” a spokesperson said. Google also stated that it is close to reaching a global licencing agreement with Agence France-Presse. Google has the option to challenge the penalty that was announced on Tuesday.
It's been a long time coming, but Google and newspaper owners and wire services are now clashing. For more than a decade, European publishers have lobbied regulators to rein down Google's influence, which has syphoned billions of euros in advertising income. Groups representing publications and magazines, as well as Agence France-Presse, filed complaints in France in 2019.
The sentence imposed on Tuesday is the French regulator's latest show of strength as it competes with its EU and German counterparts to be the region's toughest watchdog of US internet corporations. In recent years, the authority has tended to require behavioural modifications prior to the conclusion of lengthy investigations. While this has prompted other antitrust agencies to adopt the strategy, Google's disobedience has put it in jeopardy.
Google agreed to pay the Alliance de la Presse d'Information Générale, a collection of French publications, earlier this year. Talks with magazine owners and AFP have also taken place.
De Silva, on the other hand, said that regulators disregarded Google's remuneration as "negligible." She chastised Google for proposing to pay the same amount for press content as it does for dictionary listings or weather data.
Google fails to strike
* The fine is the second-largest antitrust penalty in French history.
* A regulator claims the business disobeyed orders to negotiate with publishers for the right to display content snippets in search results.
* Google has two months to come up with new ideas for compensating news publishers or face extra fines of up to 900,000 euros ($1.065 million) per day, the French authorities said
* The Competition Authority also ordered Google to make "an offer of recompense for the current usage of their copyrighted content" to media publishers.
* Google has been given two months to present a remuneration offer to publishers or risk fines of up to 900,000 euros per day could be imposed.
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