In July,France’s competition authority slapped with it. The penalty relates to the adtech giant’s approach toward . In a statement today, Sebastien Missoffe, a Google France VP and country manager, characterized the fine as “disproportionate” — claiming that the $592 million penalties are not justified in light of Google’s “efforts” to cut a deal with news publishers and , which reads like relatively weak sauce, as defense statements go.
“We areCompetition Authority’s decision regarding our negotiations between April and August 2020. We disagree with several legal elements and believe that the fine is disproportionate to our efforts to reach an agreement and comply with the new law,” wrote Missoffe, adding: “Irrespective of this, we recognize neighboring rights, and we continue to work hard to and put deals in place. This includes expanding offers to 1,200 publishers, clarifying aspects of our contracts, and we are sharing more by the French Competition Authority in their July Decision.”
In 2019, the European Union agreed on an update to digital copyright rules, which extended coverage to the ledes of news stories — snippets of which aggregators such as. The individual EU Member States then needed to transpose the updated pan-EU reforms into their national laws — with the pack. The country’s competition watchdog has also been leading the charge in enforcing updated rules against Google — ordering the tech giant to negotiate with publishers and following that up with a whopping fine when publishers complained about how Google was treating those talks.
Announcing the penalty this, the Autorité de la Concurrence accused the tech giant of attempting to impose a global news licensing product unilaterally upon local publishers in a bid to avoid having to put a separate financial value on neighboring rights remuneration — where there is a legal requirement (under EU and French law) upon it to negotiate with said publishers. The watchdog’s complete list of grievances against Google’s modus operandi was very long — check out our earlier report here — so it’s unclear how much of a placeholder action this is.
Per Reuters, Autorité has said the appeal will not hold up the penalty nor impede the timeline of the order it already issued — which, in mid-July, gaveand provide publishers with all the required info, with the threat of daily fines (of €900,000) if it failed to meet all its requirements by then. So there are now only a couple of to go before that deadline. Google may thus be hoping that by announcing an appeal now, it will help ‘concentrate’ publishers’ minds — and encourage them to accept — whatever tweaked offer it comes up with, hence its statement noting an ‘expanded’ offer (now covering 1,200 publishers), and talk of “clarifying aspects of our contracts” and “sharing more data”, all of which were got roundly spanked by the Autorité.