After Google failed to comply with requests from French competition authorities to negotiate remuneration with publishers and agencies, the company now has to pay a multi-million fine.
Google was already ordered over a year ago by the French competition authority ARCEP to contact publishers and agencies and negotiate remuneration for content with them. The authority gave the company three months to do so. However, Google did not comply with the repeated interim injunctions, so that a penalty now follows.
Google is therefore to pay 500 million euros. Apart from that, the company is now also to make a compensation offer to the news agencies and press publishers. This results from the communication of the Autorité de la concurrence. Until now, Google had exploited its dominant position in the market, as it seems. Google says it wants to continue talks with publishers about “support and investment in news.”
Unfair conditions for publishers
Currently, Google arguably only displays small excerpts of content where rights holders have agreed to do so, and free of charge. Almost the same way the company has gone after a procedural error in the failed German ancillary copyright. However, the competition authority ARCEP suspects that Google is imposing unfair conditions on publishers and agencies.
After several press organizations, including APIG, SEPM and the news agency AFP, informed the French competition authority last year that the company was not complying with requests to negotiate, it went before the Paris Court of Appeal. This confirmed the accusations and previous decision last October, so Google should conduct negotiations with publishers to clarify the use and also remuneration of content.
Force money if deadline expires
Google is now accused by the French authority of conducting the negotiations only in the context of curation for the service Showcase. The company does not want to conduct negotiations with publishers on remuneration for the use of content, it said. Google is said to have unjustifiably limited the overall scope of the negotiations in the process. Google now has two months to comply with the French authorities’ requests. If this is not the case, Google will have to pay a penalty of 900,000 euros for each day that passes after the deadline. According to ARCEP, the amount of the fine is quite appropriate due to the seriousness of the violations. If the company continues to fail to comply with the requirements, it will not remain at the fine of 500 million euros, but steadily more.