France Fines Google €500M Over Copyright Battle

Google was fined €500 million (US$593 million) Tuesday, July 13, by French competition regulators for failing to comply with an order to negotiate fair deals with news publishers for the use of their content.

France’s Competition Authority stated Google had breached an April 2020 ruling that ordered the company to negotiate “in good faith” licensing deals with publishers and news agencies for any reuse of copyrighted content.

In January, Google agreed to a major digital copyright deal with French publishers. As part of that deal, the company stated it would negotiate individual licenses with members of France’s press alliance covering related rights and access to a new service called News Showcase.

France’s competition agency took issue with this, saying it did not include a discussion on remuneration for current uses of content covered by “neighboring rights” for the press. The regulator added that Google restricted the scope of talks with the media by refusing to include the use of press images.

It is the largest-ever fine imposed by France’s competition watchdog for a company’s failure to adhere to one of its rulings, according to France 24.

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