French competition authority fines Google $550M

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France’s competition authority fined Google more than $550 million Tuesday for not negotiating with French publishers in good faith.

The agency threatened to fine the company another $1 million per day if it does not come up with proposals for how it will compensate publishers within two months.

A Google spokesperson said that the fine “ignores the significant efforts” the company has made to comply with French law.

“We want to find a solution and reach definitive agreements but this fine is out of all proportion to the amount of money we make from news and we will be reviewing the decision in detail,” they added in a statement to The Hill.

Google was forced to negotiate with French publishers after a court ruled in 2019 that those kinds of agreements were required to comply with the European Union’s copyright directive.

France’s antitrust agency issued temporary orders last year to compel Google to hold talks with news publishers. Tuesday’s fine is from a breach of those orders.

“When the authority imposes injunctions on companies, they are required to apply them scrupulously, respecting their letter and their spirit,” Isabelle de Silva, the watchdog’s head, said in a statement. “In the present case, this was unfortunately not the case.”

Google could soon face similar fights over paying news publishers across the bloc. France was the first country in the EU to adopt the copyright directive, and others may follow soon.

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