France`s antitrust watchdog fined Google with a whopping 500 million euro ($593 million) for failing to comply with the regulator`s orders on how to conduct talks with the country’s news publishers in a row over copyright.
The fine comes at a time when there is an increasing international pressure on online platforms such as Google and Facebook to share more revenue with news outlets.
The US tech group should be asked to come up with new proposals within two months on how it plans to compensate news agencies and other publishers for the use of their news. If that doesn’t happen, the company would face additional fines of up to 900,000 euros per day.
Google said it was a bit of a harsh decision but would comply.
“Our objective remains the same: we want to turn the page with a definitive agreement. We will take the French Competition Authority`s feedback into consideration and adapt our offers,” the US tech giant said.
A Google spokesperson added, “We have acted in good faith throughout the entire process. The fine ignores our efforts to reach an agreement, and the reality of how news works on our platforms.”
News publishers APIG, SEPM and AFP have allegedly accused Google of conducting good faith so that a common ground can be found for the remuneration of news content online, under a recent European Union directive that creates so-called “neighbouring rights’’.
The case itself focused on whether Google breached temporary orders issued by the antitrust authority, which demanded such talks take place within three months with any news publishers that ask for them.
“When the authority decrees an obligation for a company, it must comply scrupulously, both in the spirit and letter (of the decision). Here, this was unfortunately not the case,” the antitrust body’s chief, Isabelle de Silva, said in a statement.