Google hit with EUR500mln fine and told to talk constructively with French publishers


Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been whacked with a EUR500mln fine by France’s antitrust watchdog for not talking in the right way to the country’s media groups.

The search engine giant is locked in a battle with publishers APIG, SEPM and AFP over copyright compensation for the use of news stories on its platform.

Google’s fine follows accusations it has not been acting in good faith during the talks and came with a warning it will face a further penalty unless it comes up with a solution.

Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc, has to find a solution within the next two months on how to compensate news agencies and other publishers for the use of their news or face further penalties of EUR900,000 per day.

Google said while very disappointed it would comply with the ruling.

“Our objective remains the same: we want to turn the page with a definitive agreement. We will take the French Competition Authority’s feedback into consideration and adapt our offers,” Reuters reported.

“We have acted in good faith throughout the entire process. The fine ignores our efforts to reach an agreement, and the reality of how news works on our platforms.”

France’s antitrust authority said the fine stemmed from the fact it has already demand Google hold talks within three months with any news publishers that requested them.

“When the authority decrees an obligation for a company, it must comply scrupulously, both in the spirit and letter (of the decision). Here, this was unfortunately not the case,” the antitrust body’s chief, Isabelle de Silva, said in a statement.


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