The French Competition Authority, the country’s antitrust watchdog, has fined Alphabet’s Google $593 million after the company failed to comply with orders on how to approach talks with France-based news publishers during their copyright fight.
This fine is in response to international pressure on Google, Facebook and other online platforms for a more equitable sharing of revenue with news outlets.
Google now has two months to present proposals for compensating news agencies and other news publishers for their content. If it does not, they face additional fines of up to 900,000 euros ($966,000) per day.
The tech company was disappointed with the ruling but said they would comply. They maintain that they have acted “in good faith” throughout the process and that they want to move forward with an agreement.
The antitrust organization stipulates that talks must be held within three months from when a news publisher requests them.
News publishers AFP, APIG and SEPM accuse Google of not holding talks in good faith to discuss compensation for news content that is published on their platform, citing a European Union directive for “neighboring rights.” APIG represents French news publishers such as Le Monde and Le Figaro.
Although APIG signed an initial agreement with Google earlier in the year, they remained a plaintiff in the suit. This deal had been put on hold until this decision came through. This framework agreement was criticized by many French media groups. It provided compensation for the company’s use of news snippets in their search results—a first in Europe.
As part of the agreement, Google would pay $76 million over a three-year period to 121 French news publishers. It followed months of talks between Google, publishers and news agencies over how to handle new EU copyright regulations that let publishers demand fees from online platforms that show portions of their news stories.