the Autorité de la concurrence closes the dispute with Google

The Competition Authority announces Tuesday, June 21 to end the litigation procedure between the French media and Google in the neighboring rights file, by accepting the commitments made by the American Internet giant. “The Autorité considers that the commitments proposed by Google are such as to put an end to the competition concerns”.

This litigation was opened in November 2019 by the SEPM (structure representing magazines), Apig (structure representing daily newspapers) and Agence France-Presse (AFP). All claimed that Google remunerates them under neighboring rights in the context of the use of their content.

500 million euros fine

Rights related to copyright were established for digital platforms in 2019 by a European directive. Fighted by the digital giants, they allow newspapers, magazines or press agencies to be paid when their content is reused, in particular by Google, whose search engine displays press extracts in its results pages.

In July 2021, the French Competition Authority fined Google 500 million euros for not having negotiated ” in good faith “ with newspaper publishers. This conviction becomes final, Google having undertaken to withdraw its appeal, the Competition Authority said on Tuesday.

A 5-year agreement

Google had published the first commitments in mid-December. Others were then formulated in April/May. The American giant is particularly committed to “negotiate in good faith” with publishers and press agencies who so wish and “to make a compensation offer” within three months, as well as to provide the technical information “allowing a transparent evaluation of the remuneration offered by Google”.

These commitments, which become binding, “will apply for a period of 5 years, and will be renewable once for a period of five years”, underlined the Authority. Since the conflict began to unravel in recent months, some 140 publications have signed compensation contracts with Google under the “neighboring rights”pursuant to framework agreements concluded in March with Apig and then in April with SEPM, Google indicated on June 13.

In addition to these two framework agreements, Google signed an agreement with AFP in November 2021, as well as other individual agreements with newspapers, such as Le Monde, which represent approximately ” About ten “ of titles. All amounts of these agreements are confidential.


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