Friday, 10 April 2020 08:24

Google told to pay French news publishers for content: report Featured

Google told to pay French news publishers for content: report Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Search giant Google has agreed to comply with a French ruling that it must pay publishing companies and news agencies for re-using content they produce, a report says.

France's Autorite de la Concurrence (French Competition Authority) said on Thursday: “Google’s practices caused a serious and immediate harm to the press sector, while the economic situation of publishers and news agencies is otherwise fragile."

The decision was made after a complaint by unions who represent French publishers, the news agency Reuters reported. In 2019, Google had agreed that its search results would not display news clips from European publishers to French users in keeping with a new copyright regulation.

But this was not deemed sufficient by the French organisations who then made their complaint, resulting in Thursday's preliminary ruling. A more detailed ruling is expected later.

Australia has made moves to regulate digital platforms, and is now in the process of formulating a voluntary code for co-operation between digital platforms and news organisations.

This followed an inquiry by the competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the results of which were made public in July 2019 after the report was handed to the government in June.

If the ACCC is unable to work out a voluntary code with the digital platforms by November this year, then the government has said it "will develop alternative options which may include the creation of a mandatory code".

However, this process may be delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, which has put many operations on ice.

France has been in the forefront of efforts by European countries to tax digital platforms. In January last year, it hit Google with a with a €50 million (US$56.8 million) fine by the French National Data Protection Commission (CNIL) for violations of the General Data Protection Regulation.

And in July 2019, France announced a 3% tax on technology giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon, with the country's lower house of parliament voting to adopt a law that prevents multinationals from avoiding taxes by setting up headquarters in low-taxing EU countries.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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