Google appeals to France’s “disproportionate” 500 million euros in copyright line

Google said on Wednesday it was appealing a fine of 500 million euros (about Rs. 4,320 crores) imposed by France’s antitrust body in July over a dispute with local media over payment for news content.

The fine came amid increasing international pressure on online platforms like Google, part of Alphabet and Facebook to share more of the revenue they earn from using news media.

“We disagree with several legal elements and believe the fine is disproportionate to our efforts to reach an agreement and comply with the new law,” said Sebastien Missoffe, head of Google France.

“We continue to work hard to resolve this case and close deals. This includes expanding the offerings to 1,200 publishers, clarifying aspects of our contracts and sharing more data, as requested by the French Competition Authority.”

The French antitrust agency imposed the sanction on Google for not complying with its orders on how to conduct negotiations with publishers.

The agency said on Wednesday that Google’s appeal, which will be heard by the Paris appellate court, would not withstand the fine, which the US tech giant has yet to pay. It was not possible to say how long the appeals process would take.

The case focused on whether Google violated temporary orders issued by the authority, which said such negotiations should take place, within three months, with any news editors who requested them.

The agency said in its July 13 decision that the US technology group is expected to submit proposals in the next two months on how it would compensate news agencies and other publishers for the use of its content. Failing to do so, the company will face additional fines of up to EUR 900,000 (about Rs. 7.7 crores) per day.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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