French Competition Authority fines Google €500 million in the neighbouring rights case

Decision represents the largest ever fine issued by the Authority for non-compliance with a previous injunction.

13/07/2021

The French Competition Authority has fined Google €500 million for non-compliance with injunctions issued in April 2020, imposing Google to negotiate in good faith the compensation owed to press publishers for the online use of their content covered by neighbouring rights. To ensure the injunctions’ effectiveness, the Authority ordered Google to present a compensation offer to publishers and news agencies for the current uses of their protected content within the next two months, with penalties of up to €900,000 per day of delay.

On April, 9th 2020, The French Competition Authority ordered conservatory measures against Google LLC, Google Ireland Limited, and Google France entities, after being referred by the Alliance de la Presse d'Information Générale (APIG), the Syndicat des éditeurs de la presse magazine, and Agence France Presse, for abuse of dominant position and abuse of economic dependence. The French Competition Authority found Google circumvented the law in attempting to force press publishers to allow content to be posted for free on its platforms and found Google’s practices likely to cause serious and immediate harm to the press sector. The French Competition Authority required Google to conduct negotiations in good faith with publishers and news agencies, within three months, on the remuneration for the re-use of their protected content. Tightly controlled by the Authority, this negotiation retroactively covered the fees due from the date the law came into force on 24th October 2019. 

Latham & Watkins represents APIG press publishers in the case with a team led by Paris partner Adrien Giraud, with Brussels associate Jean-Baptiste Douchy, and Paris associates Juliette Raffaitin and Julien Morize.

 
 

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