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Google Fined 250 Million Euros by French Regulators

Facing a substantial fine of 250 million euros ($272 million), Google has been slammed by French regulators for breaching commitments related to payments to media companies and the use of their content in its AI chatbot without proper notification.

Violation of Commitments and Breach of Negotiations

In 2022, Google had committed to fair negotiations with French news organizations after a previous 500-million-euro fine by the Competition Authority. However, the regulator found Google in violation of commitments made in 2022, accusing the tech giant of failing to negotiate in good faith with news publishers.

  • Google obligated to offer transparent payment terms within three months of receiving a copyright complaint
  • Google found in breach of four out of seven commitments made in 2022

Additionally, Google was found to have used content from press agencies to train its artificial intelligence platform without informing them or the authority. The watchdog noted that Google neglected to provide publishers and news agencies with a technical solution to object to the use of their content, hindering their ability to negotiate remuneration.

In response to the identified failings, Google agreed not to dispute the facts and proposed corrective measures. However, the company deemed the fine disproportionate, emphasizing its efforts to address the concerns raised.

Google highlighted its signing of licensing agreements with 280 French news publishers under the European Copyright Directive but acknowledged the need for greater clarity in negotiations with publishers.

Marina Ferrari, the French government’s secretary of state for digital affairs, underscored the importance of reliable information and the costs associated with producing such content. Former AFP head Pierre Louette advocated for fair remuneration for publishers instead of continued fines.

Google called for clarity on which media outlets require compensation and emphasized the necessity for sustainable business environments in negotiations with publishers.

  • EU’s introduction of neighboring rights in 2019
  • Spain and Germany’s regulatory actions against Google

Amidst ongoing scrutiny and legal challenges in Europe, Google faces questions about its treatment of news content, highlighting the complex regulatory environment in which tech giants operate.

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