Google Appeals $590 Million Fine Over News Use in France
By Mauro Orru
Alphabet Inc.'s Google is appealing a fine that France's
Competition Authority imposed on the company for allegedly
violating orders to negotiate paid deals with news publishers.
The French regulator fined Google 500 million euros ($590.4
million) in July after saying that the company had violated its
April 2020 orders to negotiate with publishers for the right to
show snippets of their content in its search results.
Such orders came after complaints from publishers that Google
was sidestepping France's implementation of a new European Union
"We are appealing the French Competition Authority's decision
which relates to our negotiations between April and August 2020. We
disagree with a number of legal elements, and believe that the fine
is disproportionate to our efforts to reach an agreement and comply
with the new law," Sebastien Missoffe, vice president and country
manager for Google France, said Wednesday.
The French authority had accused Google of not allowing news
agencies, such as Agence France-Presse, to seek payment for
articles that appeared on other outlets' websites that come up in
Google search results.
It had also said that Google didn't provide sufficient
information to publishers to evaluate what revenue they should
receive, and that it was pushing publishers to sign deals for
Google's News Showcase product, without distinct payments for news
in general search results.
The decision mostly related to the period before September 2020,
since Google has subsequently struck deals with several French
publishers, such as Le Monde and Le Figaro, and is in talks with
"We continue to work hard to resolve this case and put deals in
place. This includes expanding offers to 1,200 publishers,
clarifying aspects of our contracts, and we are sharing more data
as requested by the French Competition Authority in their July
decision," Mr. Missoffe said.
Google's decision to appeal comes amid a heated debate over how
and whether tech companies should pay publishers for news that is
available via their platforms.
Publishers have long argued that they deserve a share of revenue
since news is a big hit for Google and other tech companies, which
say they already send publishers tens of billions of website visits
In March, Google struck deals with several news organizations
and editorial groups in Italy to feature their content on its new
Google News Showcase platform in exchange for remuneration.
Google also struck a deal in February with News Corp., the owner
of Dow Jones.
Write to Mauro Orru at email@example.com; @MauroOrru94
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 01, 2021 06:40 ET (10:40 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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