French watchdog tells Google to pay news firms for using their content

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    London, April 9 (IANS) The French anti-competition watchdog on Thursday asked tech giant Google to negotiate with publishers and news agencies on paying them proper remuneration for re-using their content on its platforms.

    The French ‘Autorite de la Concurrence’ body in a ruling granted requests for urgent interim measures presented by press publishers and the news agency AFP.
    “It requires Google to negotiate with publishers and news agencies the remuneration due to them under the law relating to neighbouring rights for the re-use of their protected contents,’ the authority said in a statement.
    The ruling came on a complaint lodged in November 2019 by several unions representing press publishers of practices implemented by Google.
    The French authority found that “Google’s practices on the occasion of the entry into force of the neighbouring rights law were likely to constitute an abuse of a dominant position, and caused serious and immediate harm to the press sector”.
    “It thus requires Google, within three months, to conduct negotiations in good faith with publishers and news agencies on the remuneration for the re-use of their protected contents,” the statement further said.
    Google was yet to react to the ruling.
    The French watchdog said the negotiation must retroactively covers the fees due as of the entry into force of the law on October 24, 2019.
    France’s competition watchdog in December last year slapped Google with a $166 million fine for abusing its position in the online search advertising market.
    The French competition watchdog said it considers that the Google Ads operating rules imposed by Google on advertisers are established and applied under non-objective, non-transparent and discriminatory conditions.
    In March, European Union’s antitrust regulators fined Google 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for abusing its dominance in the online search market by blocking rivals.
    Brussels in 2018 hit Google with a record 4.3 billion euros fine for abusing the dominant market position of its Android operating system for mobile phones.

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