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France fines Google 500 million euros over copyright row

France fines Google 500 million euros over copyright row

GOOGLE. A man holds his smartphone which displays the Google home page, in this picture illustration taken in Bordeaux, Southwestern France, August 22, 2016.

Regis Duvignau/Reuters

(1st UPDATE) Google must within the next two months come up with proposals on how it would compensate news agencies and other publishers for use of their news

France’s antitrust watchdog slapped a 500 million euro ($593 million) fine on Alphabet’s Google on Tuesday, July 13, for failing to comply fully with temporary orders it had given in a row with the country’s news publishers.

The US tech giant must within the next two months come up with proposals on how it would compensate news agencies and other publishers for the use of their news. If it does not do that, it would face additional fines of up to 900,000 euros per day.

Google said 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. “To date, Google is the only company to have announced agreements on neighboring rights.”

News publishers APIG, SEPM and AFP accuse the tech company of having failed to open talks in good faith with them to find common ground for the remuneration of news content online, under a recent European Union directive that creates so-called “neighbouring rights”.

The case itself focused on whether Google breached temporary orders issued by the antitrust authority, which demanded such talks take place within three months with any news publishers that ask for them.

APIG, which represents most major print news publishers (Le Figaro, Le Monde, etc.), remains one of the plaintiffs, in spite of having signed a framework agreement, since it has been put on hold pending antitrust decision, sources have told Reuters.  – Rappler.com

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