Google fined with €500M fine by the French competition authority

July 14, 2021 | 2 minutes read

The competition authority found out that the company didn’t respect the to-do order with news organizations over the use of content. Google also failed to negotiate in “good faith”.

France’s competition authority on Tuesday sided with the country’s press publishers and granted a major win against Google in press publishing cases. The Autorité de la concurrence finds Google, the US tech giant €500 million for not respecting the interim measures imposed last year, which were for Google to negotiate in “good faith” with the press and publishing industry over the license fees. 

“We hoped that the negotiation would be fruitful and that the actors would play the game. Google still does not seem to accept the law as it was voted, but it is not up to an actor, even a dominant one, to rewrite the law,” Isabelle de Silva, the authority’s president told the reporters. 

In 2019, France became the first EU country to implement a new Digital copyright directive into law. 

The law had the in question “neighboring rights” to compensate news agencies and publishers for the use of their content. Google decided to not show EU publishers in France unless the publishers agreed to do so. 

News organisations felt this was an abuse of Google’s market power, two organizations representing press publishers and Agence France-Presse (AFP) registered a complaint to the competition authority. 

Google told the BBC: “We are very disappointed with this decision – we have acted in good faith throughout the entire process.”

They further commented that they are the only company to have abided by the so-called neighboring rights. 

Within the next two months, Google will have to come up with a new way to recompensate the companies for the use of their news according to the new ruling.