Major internet giants are often subject to dispute, especially in their advertising business. According to recent reports, Google did not comply with the “orders” of the regulatory authorities in negotiating licensing fees with the news media in France. The French government antitrust investigators believe that Google is circumventing the law.
In the past few years, Google has had many disputes and even lawsuits in European countries. The media believes that the abstracts and pictures appearing in the Google News search infringe copyrights and require payment. Under pressure from public opinion, Google began negotiations with media organizations, including French media. However, the negotiations between the internet giant and the French media are quite difficult.
Google signed an agreement with 121 media for a total of $76 million in press licensing fees. The above-mentioned French media organizations have not yet signed an agreement with Google. If the French government’s antitrust agency determines that the company has violated antitrust regulations, it can impose a fine of 10% of sales. In 2020, Google’s annual sales hit $183 billion.
The highest fine in history issued by the French anti-monopoly agency on an external company was a penalty of 1.1 billion euros (equivalent to $1.34 billion) to Apple last year. This penalty involves Apple’s anti-market competition in the areas of product distribution and retail networks.
Google said in a statement that its top priority is to comply with the law and continue to negotiate with media organizations in good faith. The agreements reached with publishers in the past few months also prove Google’s work. The company will review the objection statement of the French regulatory agency. It will also work closely with the French antitrust agency.
Facebook also facing similar trouble as Google
Currently, in many countries around the world, Google, as well as Facebook are facing similar issues. There is pressure for these companies to pay licensing fees for news media content. The two companies take two-thirds of the world’s online advertising revenue. Many also believe that they negatively impact the revenue and survival of the news media.
In the dispute in Australia, Facebook took extreme actions. It had to ban Australian users from viewing and sharing news. Such a strong rebound has aroused the attention of international public opinion to the news payment dispute.
The French antitrust investigators have asked Google to negotiate with media publishers within a three-month deadline. They also asked the company to provide all the data required by publishers.