Google was told by the French Competition Authority (FCA) on Thursday (April 9) that it must pay to reuse content from news outlets and publishers in France.
“Google’s practices caused a serious and immediate harm to the press sector, while the economic situation of publishers and news agencies is otherwise fragile,” the FCA said in a statement, according to a Reuters report.
The Silicon Valley search giant agreed to comply with the FCA ruling. Last year, Google was forced to obey a new European copyright mandate and stopped showing European news blurbs on French search results.
“Since the European copyright law came into force in France last year, we have been engaging with publishers to increase our support and investment in news,” Richard Gingras, vice president of News at Google, said in a statement to Reuters.
Over the past 10 years, publishers in Europe lost billions in ad revenue to Google and have pleaded with regulators to do something the search giant’s anti-competitive ways.
“What’s clearly out of the question now is that the talks end with the same result as before: zero,” Adrien Giraud, a lawyer who represents French newspaper groups, told Bloomberg. He said publishers will reach out to Google “as soon as this afternoon.”
FCA regulators said Google should pay for content it used retroactively from Oct. 24, 2019. It said that data from 32 news outlets show that search engines are responsible for up to 90 percent of traffic redirected on news websites.
That traffic is “crucial for publishers and press agencies who can’t afford to lose any digital readership given their economic hardships,” the authority said. They had “no other choice than to comply with Google’s display policy without providing financial compensation.”
On March 16, the FCA hit Apple with a $1.2 billion fine for anti-competitive behavior in its distribution network. The French authority imposed the highest fine possible and “the heaviest sanction pronounced against an economic player.”