The Competition Authority in France imposed a $593 million fine on Alphabet Inc Class C (NASDAQ: GOOG) for allegedly ignoring an order that obligated them to negotiate with news publishers overpaid deals. This raises pressure on Google in a worldwide battle over whether the technology companies and businesses should pay up for news and how they should do it.
This French regulator believes that the company violated orders granted in April 2020, which ordered that Google must negotiate with news publishers and pay a certain sum if they want to display snippets of the said publisher’s content on its platform. After they had complained how Alphabet Inc. was trying to sidestep the new EU copyright directive France was implementing, the publishers sought these orders.
Since then, Google has negotiated some paid deals with some news publishers in France, like Le Figaro and Le Monde. However, not with all of them, the most notable of these being Agence France-Presse. Competition Authority boss Isabelle de Silva said the hefty fines granted by the regulator consider how serious the alleged violations were first.
The major copyright deal
In January, Alphabet Inc. signed a digital copyright deal with news publishers based in France. Part of the deal was that Google was going to negotiate licenses with France’s press alliance members who cover related rights and access News Showcase. However, France’s Competition Authority was against this, claiming the deal didn’t include how the payment of content covered by “neighboring rights” and is currently being used will be done.
According to AFP, this fine is the largest that the Competition Authority of France has ever imposed on one who’s failed to follow its orders. Of course, Google wasn’t pleased with this decision. One of its spokespeople told CNBC that they had been acting in good faith the whole time. The spokesperson further stated that the fine didn’t look at how much the company tried to agree.