Google gets fine by France

Google gets largest ever fine imposed by France’s Antitrust Agency

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The French Antitrust Agency announced on Tuesday (July 13) that Google has to pay €500 million ($593 million) in fines, due to the tech giant failing to reach a deal with publishers on using their content on the platform.

“The sanction of €500 million takes into account the exceptional seriousness of the breaches observed and what Google’s behavior has led to further delay the proper application of the law,” the antitrust regulator’s President Isabelle de Silva stated.

The American company now has a two-month deadline  to present an offer of remuneration for the use of protected content to publishers, or it will have to pay up to €900,000 per day.

Google France said it was “very disappointed” by Tuesday’s decision. “We have acted in good faith during the entire negotiation period. This fine does not reflect the efforts put in place, nor the reality of the use of news content on our platform”, Google responded.

“This decision is mainly about negotiations that took place between May and September 2020. Since then, we have continued to work with publishers and news agencies to find common ground”.

The record fine is the largest ever fine imposed by France’s Autorité de la concurrence for a company’s failure to adhere to one of its rulings, according to France 24.

France was the first country to adopt contentious new EU copyright laws aimed at giving news organizations more protections to ensure they’re compensated fairly for the dissemination of snippets of their content online.

Other major fines for Google in France in recent years include: 150 million euros ($167 million) in December 2019 for opaque and inconsistent ad rules; $57 million for privacy violations in January 2019,  $120 for dropping tracking cookies without consent  in December 2020,

The last one came in June 2021, as the antitrust watchdog announced that Google had to pay 220 million euros ($267 million) “for promoting its services in the online advertising sector”.