Google appeals against £429m French fine in copyright payment dispute

The dispute is part of a larger battle by authorities in Europe to force tech firms to compensate publishers for content.

Internet giant Google is appealing against a 500 million euro (£429 million) fine issued by French regulators over its handling of negotiations with publishers in a dispute over copyright.

The dispute is part of a larger battle by authorities in Europe and elsewhere to force Google and other tech companies to compensate publishers for content.

Google France vice president Sebastien Missoffe said in a statement: “We disagree with a number of legal elements, and believe that the fine is disproportionate to our efforts to reach an agreement and comply with the new law.”

France’s anti-trust watchdog levied the fine in mid-July after it found Google had not negotiated in good faith with publishers over payments for their news stories.

The watchdog had issued temporary orders to Google in April 2020 to hold talks with news publishers within three months, and fined the company for breaching those orders.

“We continue to work hard to resolve this case and put deals in place. This includes expanding offers to 1,200 publishers, clarifying aspects of our contracts, and we are sharing more data as requested by the French Competition Authority in their July decision,” Mr Missoffe said.

The watchdog also threatened fines of a further 900,000 euros (£772,895) per day if Google did not come up with proposals within two months for how it would pay publishers and news agencies for their content.

France was the first of the European Union’s 27 nations to adopt the bloc’s 2019 copyright directive, which lays out a way for publishers and news companies to strike licensing deals with online platforms.

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