French Competition Authority Fines Google Nearly $600 Million For Failing To Negotiate A Nonsensical Deal With Publishers 'In Good Faith'
from the ma-foi dept
France has long been in the vanguard of passing bad copyright laws. For example, it rushed to bring in probably the worst implementation of the EU Copyright Directive’s upload filters. It’s also keen on forcing Google to pay French press publishers for sending traffic to them when it displays clickable snippets of their news stories for free. Last year, the French Competition Authority said Google had no choice in the matter, and ordered the company to negotiate with French news organizations and come up with a deal that pays them to display even short excerpts. A year on, it seems that the French Competition Authority is not happy with the way that Google has responded:
At the end of an in-depth investigation, the Autorité found that Google had not complied with several injunctions issued in April 2020. First of all, Google’s negotiations with press publishers and agencies cannot be regarded as having been conducted in good faith, while Google imposed that the discussions necessarily take place within the framework of a new partnership, called Publisher Curated News, which included a new service called Showcase. In doing so, Google refused, as it has been asked on several occasions, to have a specific discussion on the remuneration due for current uses of content protected by related rights.
And to show how really, really cross it is, the Competition Authority has whacked Google with an immediate 500 million euro fine (nearly $600 million). Somehow the French government body believes the following about that ridiculous amount:
[It] takes into account the exceptional seriousness of the infringements observed and how Google’s behaviour has led to further delay the proper implementation of the law on related rights, which aimed to better take into account the value of content from press publishers and agencies included on the platforms. The Autorité will be extremely vigilant on the proper application of its decision, as non-execution can now lead to periodic penalty payment.
That periodic penalty is an equally salty 900,000 euros — around $1 million — per day of “delay”. These figures are truly extraordinary, not least because a rational observer can see that, if anything, it is the French press that ought to be paying Google for the massive amount of free advertising it receives, not the other way around. It’s all further proof that France has been driven mad by its hatred of big US Internet companies, and its equally weird love of maximalist copyright monopolies.