Google will pay from now on, or at least that is what the French Competition Authority has decided, forcing Google to negotiate with the media a “mechanism of remuneration for the publication of its contents” because it considers that Google’s rules with its “Google News” represent an “abuse of the dominant position”, as described in a statement from the organization.
In other words, Google will have to pay the media for using its content and news in the Google News service. A decision that reminds the Canon AEDE by which in 2014 Google News closed in Spain.
The amount of this payment has not been specified and in fact, the French authorities explain that Google will have to negotiate “in good faith” with the media to establish how this remuneration is made.
Google will pay to repair “serious damage”
This negotiation may not have as a counterpart that the indexation or the presentation of protected content is affected. For this purpose, Google must present monthly reports explaining the details of the process.
The decision comes after a complaint filed by the newspaper publishers and AFP, who sued Google. According to the ‘Autorite de la concurrence‘, Google has caused “serious and immediate damage” to the press.
#Droitsvoisins Constatant une atteinte grave & immédiate au secteur de la presse, l’Adlc prononce des mesures d’urgence: @Google devra négocier avec les éditeurs & agences de presse la rémunération qui leur est due pr la reprise de leurs contenus protégés. https://t.co/o6s7c90DRx pic.twitter.com/uV9sNXtMmy
— Autorité de la Concurrence (@Adlc_) April 9, 2020
The agency has given Alphabet Inc. three months to negotiate the agreements with the French agencies and media, paying a remuneration that will cover retroactively the time spent since 24 October 2019, when France’s new copyright law came into force.
According to a study published by the Agency reviewing data from 32 publications: “search engines such as Google represent between 26% and 90% of the traffic redirected to news websites”.
Google complies and begins to apply the guidelines
According to Bloomberg, Google has explained that it will comply with the orders of the French authority, take appropriate measures and in fact points out that it has already initiated some talks with communication groups in France.
Richard Gingras, Vice President of Google News, explained that “Since European copyright law came into force in France last year, we have been in negotiations with publishers to increase our support and investment in media. We will comply with the FCA’s order as we review it and continue those negotiations”. Google also points out that the FCA has not yet determined whether the competition rules have been breached and whether this is a “provisional decision”.
In September 2019, France announced that Google agreed to pay 965 million euros to close a four-year tax case. We will have to wait to see how much is set this time for payment to the French media.
In short, Google will pay, and it is only fair that they should, since a large part of their big fortune comes from profiting from the work of others.