Two sources who read the investigation report said that French antitrust investigators accused Alphabet’s Google of failing to comply with the National Competition Administration’s order on how to negotiate copyright with news publishers.
The source said that in the 93-page report (known as a statement of objection), investigators wrote that Google’s failure to comply with the contract was extremely serious.
This is when French news publishers complained that Google had failed to negotiate with them in good faith to find an agreement. As Reuters reported earlier this month, the three-year, US$76 million (approximately Rs. 5.52 billion) deal signed by the US publisher and 121 publication groups does not belong to these publishers.
This agreement is an important step made by Google and the publishers that signed the agreement, but it has irritated many publications.
The French competition authority can impose fines of up to 10% on companies that violate its rules. In 2020, Google’s annual sales are approximately US$183 billion (approximately Rs 1,324.22 billion).
The investigation report is a key element in the authorities’ sanctions process, but the supervisory agency led by Isabelle de Silva decides whether to issue sanctions.
The largest fine in the history of the French antitrust authorities is that of the iPhone maker Apple, which last year imposed a fine of 1.1 billion euros (approximately 96.7 billion rupees) for anti-competitive behavior in its iPhone’s distribution and retail network.
A spokesperson for the competition authority declined to comment.
In response to Reuters’ request for comment, Google said in a statement: “Our priority is to comply with the law and continue to negotiate with publishers in good faith, as evidenced by our agreements with publishers over the past few years. Of. A few months.”
It said: “We will now review the objection statement and will work closely with the French competition authority.”
The French report on Google’s negotiation strategy was released at a time when countries around the world promoted Google and Facebook and other US Internet giants to share more revenue with news publishers. This week, when Facebook banned a draft law in Australia regarding upcoming arbitration, the issue attracted international attention.
According to these two sources, French investigators said that Google did not comply with the requirements of the regulator to start negotiations with the publisher within a three-month period and provide all the data that the regulator believes the publisher needs.
APIG, the publisher’s lobby that signed the deal with Google, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. French news agency Agence France-Presse and another media lobby group SEPM (neither signed a deal with Google) did not respond to requests for comment.
Thomson Reuters 2021 ©
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