Google lost an important case in France that obligates Google to compensate French news publishers for using their content.
Google Accused of Abusing Dominant Position
The ruling by the French Competition Authority accuses Google of not complying with French laws that order digital organizations to negotiate a fair price for use of content.
It was found that Google’s activities had harmed French news organizations who were forced to comply with Google’s terms of allowing free use of their content in Google News.
The ruling also said that rather than comply with a 2019 requirement that Google negotiate a fair payment system with news organizations that Google simply withdrew from showing French news.
According to a translated version of the decision:
“Google unilaterally decided that it would no longer display article extracts, photographs and videos within its various services, unless the publishers give it to them, free of charge.
In practice, the vast majority of press publishers have granted Google free licenses for the use and display of their protected content, without negotiation and without receiving any remuneration from Google.”
According to a report in French Media,
Google has three months to negotiate in good faith with news publishers to pay for the right to use titles, images and snippets.
Furthermore, Google must submit a report in four weeks to detail how it is progressing and follow up reports every month thereafter.
According to the French news report, this was Google’s response:
“We are in discussions with a large number of press publishers in order to increase our support and investments for the benefit of the press sector. We will comply with the decision of the Competition Authority, which we are in the process of analyze, while continuing these negotiations, “said Richard Gingras, vice president of news at Google at AFP.”
Major Defeat for Google
This is a major loss for Google because it appears to create a precedent for Google having to pay news publishers for the right to use snippets, titles and images. Google has always argued that it was doing good for publishers by sending traffic to news organizations. France’s competition regulator has found otherwise. They found that Google’s actions caused harm to publishers.
Google’s business model of using content from news publishers in Google News appears to have to come to an end in France.
The question moving forward is if similar measures will be imposed on Google worldwide.