The French Competition Authority imposed a fine of 500 million euros on Google on Tuesday for not having negotiated in good faith compensation for the media for the use of its news content, which is required by national law. The agency also ordered the US internet giant to present a remuneration offer to publishers and press agencies for the use of its protected content, under the threat of having to pay 900,000 euros for each day of delay.
“The sanction of 500 million euros takes into account the exceptional gravity of the breaches found and that Google’s behavior has meant delaying the proper application of the law on related rights,” said the president of the Competition Authority, Isabelle de Silva, in the statement that announced the sanction.
Negotiate in good faith
A 2019 French law required internet platforms to negotiate in good faith with the media compensation for the use of their news content on their search engines, protected by so-called related rights. However, the Competition Authority found after an in-depth investigation that Google “has not respected several legal requirements formulated in April 2020”.
In addition, the negotiation of the Silicon Valley giant with publishers and press agencies “cannot be considered to have been carried out in good faith”, since Google required them to be part of a program called Publisher Curated News, with a specific service called Showcase. In doing so, he adds, Google “refused, as it had been requested on several occasions, to have a specific discussion about the remuneration due for the current use of the content protected by related rights.”
This is the third setback that Google has received in France in recent months in the form of a millionaire sanction. The Competition Authority imposed a fine of 220 million euros on June 6 for abuse of its dominant position in the online advertising market. This sanction was the result of a negotiation with Google, which accepted the charges and assumed a series of commitments in its advertising policy.
And last December, the French National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms (CNIL) fined Google with another 100 million euros and Amazon with 35 million for its policies of cookies, which were introduced into the computers of its users for advertising purposes.