Google has been fined nearly $600 million by France’s antitrust regulator, who has given the company two months to come up with proposals on how to pay publishers for their content or face further penalties.
Google (GOOGL) had disregarded several
injunctions related to the tech company’s negotiations with French news publishers, the regulator said in a statement on Tuesday.
For failing to comply, Google was fined €500 million ($592 million). Additional penalties of up to €900,000 ($1.1 million) per day could be imposed if Google does not present compensation offers to publishers within the next two months.
“When the regulator imposes obligations for a company, it must comply scrupulously, in both the spirit and letter. In this instance, this was unfortunately not the case,” the antitrust agency’s chief Isabelle de Silva said.
Google said in a statement that it was “very disappointed” with the decision.
“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,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
According to da Silva, Google failed to comply by not acting “in good faith” in its negotiations with news agencies and publishers, and by refusing to have a specific discussion about how to pay for news content online.
The Alliance de la Presse d’Information Générale (APIG), which represents French news media, has a framework agreement with Google, according to the company. It also has agreements with some of the world’s most prestigious publications, including Le Monde and Le Figaro.
In 2019, the European Union overhauled its copyright laws, holding companies like Google and YouTube liable for infringements committed by their users. Search engines and social media platforms must also share revenue with publishers if their content is displayed under the new rules.
Last year, Google announced a new program for licensing news that would pay publishers more than $1 billion over the next three years, potentially helping struggling newsrooms that have lost advertising dollars to social media platforms.