France Fines Google $593M in Fight Over News Content

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Google was fined 500m euros, or $593m, by French antitrust officials on Tuesday for failing to negotiate a “good faith” agreement with publishers to carry news on its platform. A drop in ad revenue attributed to the Silicon Valley giant.

French officials said Google was ignoring a 2020 order from French regulators to negotiate a licensing agreement with publishers to use captions in articles in search results. The case has been closely watched as it is one of the first attempts to enforce a new copyright directive passed by the European Union that aims to force internet platforms like Google and Facebook to pay news organizations compensation for their content.

“When the authority issues injunctions to companies, they must strictly enforce them, respecting their letters and spirits,” said Isabelle de Silva, head of the French antitrust agency. Declaration.

French officials said Google has two months to come up with new ideas to compensate news publishers, or it risks more fines of up to €900,000 per day, about $1,065 million.

France’s decision is the final decision in the battle between news publishers and internet platforms over the use of news content. In Europe and elsewhere, policymakers are increasingly taking the side of publishers who claim that internet companies profit from the unfair use of their content. Companies like Google and Facebook have argued that they drive traffic to news sites.

Internet companies struggled with a copyright law passed in Australia this year that gave publishers more bargaining advantages. This led to a showdown where Facebook briefly removed news from its platform for users within the country, before quickly softening.

As policymakers collapse, Google tries to strike deals with individual publishers. In October, the company said it would spend more. $1 billion license Content from international news organizations. And in February, The New York Post announced a three-year deal with News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal and other leading news outlets.

Google, which can appeal the fine, said it was “very disappointed” by France’s decision and is continuing to talk to publishers. “We acted in good faith throughout the entire process,” Google said in a statement. The fine ignores our efforts to reach an agreement and the reality of how news works on our platforms.”

French officials said Google placed unfair restrictions on its negotiations with publishers, including requiring them to participate in the company’s new licensing program, News Showcase. Google has reached an agreement with some of the leading French news outlets, including Le Monde, L’Obs and Le Figaro, but others have expressed concerns about the process.

Google said it has completed a global licensing agreement with Agence France-Presse, one of France’s largest media outlets.

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