Search engine Google has been fined 500 million euros by French authorities for failing to reach an agreement on paying publishers and news agencies to use their content.
The fines are the latest manifestation of the ongoing worldwide dispute over the copyright of news organizations with technology companies.
A BBC report on Tuesday said the French Competition Authority had fined Google. The authority last year instructed Google to reach an agreement with the media on summarizing the article in search results. These fines have been imposed for failure to comply with those instructions.
But Google has told the BBC that the decision ignores their efforts to reach a compromise.
In 2019, France became the first country in the European Union to enact digital copyright guidelines. The law sets out so-called ‘Neighboring Rights’, under which Google must pay for the use of content by news publishers and news agencies.
Google then announced that it would not show the content of EU news publishers in Search and News in France until publishers agreed to allow their content to be shown for free. News agencies have called Google’s announcement an abuse of their influence in the market. The two organizations, representing news publishers, and the agency France-Press (AFP) then complained to the French Competition Authority. Google has now been fined for its continuation.
Google officials told the BBC: “We are shocked by this decision. We are moving forward with the utmost fidelity in the whole process. “
The tech giant says its deal with the news agency AFP is almost finalized. This includes global licensing agreements and payments to news organizations.
According to a new order from the Competition Authority, Google will have to come up with a new proposal within the next two months on how to compensate these organizations for using news. Failure to do so will cost Google an additional 900,000 a day.
Isabel Silva, one of the members of the Competition Authority, said in a statement that when authorities impose an obligation on an organization, they must comply. It was very unfortunate not to do so in this case.