The French competition watchdog said on Friday that it will make a ruling on Tuesday on whether Google “in good faith” negotiates payments with news publishers for the use of its content alongside search results.
This protracted lawsuit mainly claims that the American Internet giant displayed articles, pictures and videos produced by media groups when displaying search results. Although online advertising revenues have undergone drastic changes, they have not received sufficient compensation.
In April 2020, the French competition authority ordered Google to negotiate with the media group “in good faith” because it refused to comply with the EU’s new law on digital copyright.
The so-called “neighboring right” aims to ensure that news publishers are compensated when their works are displayed on websites, search engines and social media platforms.
But last September, news publishers including Agence France-Presse (AFP) filed a complaint with regulators, saying that Google refused to pay more to display content in online searches.
The competition authority will make a ruling on this point, and then make a final ruling on Google’s alleged abuse of monopoly power in Internet news searches later this year.
For a long time, the news media has been struggling to reduce print subscriptions because Google refused to receive millions of euros from the ads displayed alongside news search results.
The American giant countered that it encouraged millions of people to click on media sites and also spent huge sums of money to support media groups in other ways, including providing emergency funding during the Covid-19 crisis.
At the same time, Google announced in November that it had signed “a number of separate agreements” on copyright payments with French newspapers and magazines, including the top daily newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro.
Agence France-Presse did not sign the agreement, but its chief executive, Fabrice Fries, said he was “optimistic” about improving relations with Google and other Internet giants such as Facebook and Apple.