French watchdog fines Google $591M for failing to negotiate fair deals with local news...

nanoguy

Posts: 1,243   +24
Staff member
In brief: Google has been accused of not acting in good faith when asked to negotiate fair payment for using news snippets across Search and Google News. As a result, the French competition watchdog has fined the company to the tune of $591 million and will continue to fine them for every failure to negotiate deals with individual publishers within two months of receiving such requests.

This week, Google was fined €500 million ($591 million) in France after it failed to comply with an order to negotiate a fair agreement on a revenue split with news publishers whose content is used on the Google News platform. It's a significant blow for the search giant, and the second-biggest dealt by French authorities to any company.

Back in 2020, the French competition watchdog used the pretext of the EU's Copyright Directive -- also referred to by some as the "Link Tax" -- to force Google into paying publishers for the use of snippets or article previews across services like Search and Google News. The controversial ruling meant Google had two choices: make a deal with publishers or remove snippets altogether.

Google wanted to opt for the latter solution and gradually add back snippets for publishers that granted the company the right to do so, but that didn't please the French authorities.

The search giant also introduced a $1 billion initiative called Google News Showcase aimed at supporting high-quality journalism in Europe on the company's own terms, while maintaining the position that publishers benefit greatly from Google's services that funnel visitors to their websites.

Earlier this year, Google reached an agreement with a French newspaper group, but individual rates were still a nebulous that had to be sorted out through separate negotiations with each publisher. Bloomberg notes regulators were unimpressed with some of the payment offers, going as far as calling them "negligible."

Isabelle de Silva, who is head of the French competition watchdog, said in a statement the fine "takes into account the exceptional seriousness of the breaches observed." She also explained that Google offered to pay less for news items when compared to things like weather information or dictionary listings.

Moving forward, Google has to hold negotiations with publishers within two months of receiving such requests. Failing that, the company will be fined up to €900,000 ($1.06 million) per day. The search giant is, of course, disappointed by the decision and believes it has "acted in good faith throughout the entire process," adding that the fine ignores their efforts to reach an agreement "and the reality of how news works on our platforms."

Google faced similar hurdles in Australia last year, and at one point threatened to pull its search engine from the country as a sign of protest against a similar law requiring search engines to pay for linking to news articles. Since then, the company has reached a number of deals with publishers in Australia, the UK, and Canada to pay for news snippets and even integrate them into Google News Showcase.

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Burty117

Posts: 4,602   +2,902
Google, wouldn't it just be easier (and with fines this big, cheaper) to create your own News outlet in each country you operate in? Then when they try to charge you for linking to news websites via a search, just filter out all news websites from your search. I'm fairly confident they'll be begging to be put back in after a month of almost no income.

Some people think Google IS the internet, their search engine is by far the most widely used, removing news websites from your search would do some serious damage.

I understand charging for snippets used in Google News in its current form though, you're essentially depriving the news website of its ad revenue.

If you had your own News Publication though, no need to snippet other news sites.
 

tellmewhy

Posts: 208   +108
If I was in Googles chair after that I would had turn the search engine and youtube in the WHOLE European Union (vpns exluded) accessible only via membership. 12 € / year or btc or that H which they have make just for those who are about privacy, with advertisements just like now and I would have remove the news completely from France (it’s just an excuse to take money they don’t care about it).

Imagine the reactions of politicians if Google starts accept btc :)
Come one 1m per day is too unfair even for Google’s size.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,317   +8,509
It's no big secret that Alphabet & Google are doing everything they can to manipulate the market and drive out competition but until the DOJ and regulators get serious about enforcing the laws, the problem will remain and we, the consumers will continue to pay the price. Sadly, now days, the US is always in the back seat with law enforcement and Europe appears to in the drivers seat.
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 2,060   +1,280
If I was in Googles chair after that I would had turn the search engine and youtube in the WHOLE European Union (vpns exluded) accessible only via membership. 12 € / year or btc or that H which they have make just for those who are about privacy, with advertisements just like now and I would have remove the news completely from France (it’s just an excuse to take money they don’t care about it).

Imagine the reactions of politicians if Google starts accept btc :)
Come one 1m per day is too unfair even for Google’s size.
Sounds like an excellent way to lose literally all of your customers/product in Europe.
 

psycros

Posts: 4,458   +6,650
Stealing online content has been a huge business for over 20 years now. Look at all the tech sites that do nothing but recap the stories from sites that actually do the legwork. Google only responds to regulation - they've proven that beyond doubt, so France is doing the right thing by standing up to the monster. Not paying for content, filtering news they don't agree with, endangering their users by selling their personal info to literally anyone..this is NOT a good company and it needs to be reigned in or broken up.
 

tellmewhy

Posts: 208   +108
Stealing online content has been a huge business for over 20 years now. Look at all the tech sites that do nothing but recap the stories from sites that actually do the legwork. Google only responds to regulation - they've proven that beyond doubt, so France is doing the right thing by standing up to the monster. Not paying for content, filtering news they don't agree with, endangering their users by selling their personal info to literally anyone..this is NOT a good company and it needs to be reigned in or broken up.
Wait a second, if it’s not a good company why you use it every time you want to find something on the internet?
“Not pay for content”, if you are refering to youtube it's host 24/24 the content with no charge, you can find 10h long videos 10+ years old with almost no view and no ads and still are accessible to anyone who interested. If you are refering to new sites they give them advertisement in exchange for the content. That way they don’t have to pay and taxes because it’s direct goods – services exchanges. If you exchange eggs for potatoes without money you don’t need to pay taxes because eggs and potatoes are not an official form of capital. It’s a basic right nobody can stop you to direct exchange freely products for products.
“Filtering news” don't know about that but I suppose they will be spam, obvious misleading, or something like that.
“Personal info” they just count the votes. The more votes a site gets the higher it appears on search results. How else they can decide what to show to those who ask in search queries?