The French competition authorities fined Google €500 million (£427 million) for failing to negotiate “in good faith” with news organisations over the use of their content.
The authorities accused Google of failing to take a court order seriously.
According to Google, the decision “ignores our efforts to reach an agreement.”
The fine is the latest volley in a global copyright war between digital companies and journalism organisations. Last year, the French competition authorities ordered Google to negotiate partnerships with news organisations in order to offer article excerpts in search results, news, and other services.
Google was punished because, in the opinion of the authorities, it did not accomplish this.
France became the first EU country to enact a new Digital Copyright Directive in 2019.
The rule governed what are known as “neighbouring rights,” which are intended to recompense publishers and news organisations for the usage of their material.
As a result, Google decided that it would not show material from EU publishers in France on services such as search and news unless publishers agreed to allow it to do so for free.
News organisations viewed this as an abuse of Google’s market power, and two organisations representing press publishers as well as Agence France-Presse (AFP) filed a complaint with the competition commission.
“We are quite disappointed with this judgement,” Google told the BBC. “We have acted in good faith throughout the entire process. It claims to be the only company to have announced deals on so-called neighbouring rights to date.
It also stated that it was going to finalise an agreement with AFP that included a global licencing agreement as well as payments for press articles. The latest verdict requires Google to submit plans describing how it will compensate firms for the usage of their news over the next two month.
If this does not occur, the corporation may face extra fines of €900,000 each day.
“When the authority declares an obligation for a corporation, it must comply meticulously,” said Isabelle de Silva of the competition authority in a statement.
“Unfortunately, this was not the case here,” she stated.


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