Google tries to dodge a sanction of 500 million euros

Google is appealing a decision of the Competition Authority, which imposed a penalty of 500 million euros in July. In the background, the role of Google in the remuneration of the press on the net.

New episode in the soap opera of press compensation by Google. The net giant announces, this Wednesday, September 1, 2021, its choice to fight the decision of the Competition Authority in court. A call that was expected: the American company is hit with a sanction of 500 million euros, an exceptional amount, which was knowingly chosen by the French institution.

In a press release, Google France declares to be ” disagree with certain legal elements Appearing in the decision rendered on July 13 by the Authority. The French subsidiary of the search engine further estimates “ that the amount of the fine is disproportionate in relation to the efforts She says she has put in place to get into the nails of the law on neighboring rights.

Google faces a sanction of 500 million euros because it is accused of not making an effort to comply with the law. The net giant denies it.

When making its decision, the Competition Authority explained that it had withheld such a high sum because of ” the exceptional seriousness of the breaches observed “And the attitude of Google, which” leads to further delay the proper application of the law on neighboring rights “. She further noted that Google was then not complying with a series of injunctions issued against it in April 2020.

Neighboring rights are similar to copyright. This system intends to offer publishers and news agencies the right to authorize or prohibit the reproduction of their production on digital platforms, such as Google and Facebook. More concretely, it is a question of ensuring that these sites pay the media for the recovery of their content, which has value.

The call made by Google comes as the deadline set by the Competition Authority to unblock the file, that is to say to present a satisfactory offer for the press, and more particularly for three, soon comes to an end. publishers who are behind the action – including AFP. If this is not the case, then daily penalty payments of up to 900,000 euros will be triggered.

Google highlights its efforts to get into the nails

Google nevertheless ensures respect for neighboring rights and says it wants to sign agreements in France with publishers and agencies. ” We have extended our offer to more than 1,200 newspaper publishers, modified certain aspects of our contracts, and we share the data that have been requested of us in order to comply with the decision of the Competition Authority “, Notes the giant of the net.

The law on neighboring rights was promulgated at the end of July 2019 and transposes the directive on copyright, which was approved at European level in the spring of 2019. In this area, France has been particularly quick to register this news measures in the legislation, at least for the media aspect. But initially, Google had braked four irons, arousing the ire of the authorities.

For the net giant, the main argument was to say that there was already a sharing of value, arguing that its service brings considerable traffic to news sites – nearly 8 billion visits per month to the internet. European scale. It is then up to these sites to find the right formula to monetize these visits, through advertising or subscription.

The American group had the idea of ​​making changes to its services to display a minimum of elements and thus avoid paying the media. In fact, this had led to the removal of extracts from articles, but also multimedia content (photos, videos or infographics) which appear in dedicated inserts. These recoveries are covered by neighboring rights and Google had said to itself that it had the right to do without them, until the authorities got involved.

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