Brussels (Brussels Morning) France’s Competition Authority fined the US tech giant Google 500 million euro on Tuesday for the company’s failure to comply with instructions about talks with news publishers in the copyright disagreement.
The French regulator fined Google in the wake of the push to make digital platforms pay more to news publishers and gave the US company two months to propose compensation for the use of content released by publishers, Reuters reported. If Google does not comply, it faces additional daily fines of up to 900,000 euro.
Google will comply
Google stressed it was very disappointed about the decision, but announced it would comply. “Our objective remains the same: we want to turn the page with a definitive agreement”, Google noted. “We will take the French Competition Authority’s feedback into consideration and adapt our offers”.
A company spokesperson insisted they had acted in good faith “throughout the entire process”. He maintained that the fine “ignores our efforts to reach an agreement and the reality of how news works on our platforms”.
A group of news publishers had accused Google of failing to hold negotiations with them in good faith.
The case focuses on Google’s breach of orders instructing the company to hold talks with the publishers who had called for them to take place within three months.
“When the authority decrees an obligation for a company, it must comply scrupulously, both in the spirit and letter”, French Competition Authority head Isabelle de Silva observed. Unfortunately, in this instance, that was “not the case”, she said.
Google and French publishers signed a framework agreement earlier this year based on which the company agreed to provide 121 news publishers with 76 million dollars over a three-year period for use of news items in search results.
The framework agreement was put on hold pending a decision by the French Competition Authority on the case.