France slaps Google with ‘biggest fine ever’ of €500 million for failing to comply with copyright rules

US internet giant Google is facing its largest fine ever, €500 million euros from the French competition authority, which has ruled that the company had not respected the copyright rules surrounding licensing fees.

The country’s competition authority hit Google with the half-a-billion-euro fine on Tuesday for its failure to comply “in good faith” with media outlets under a European Union copyright rule granting “neighboring rights.” As well as issuing the body’s “biggest ever fine” to date, the watchdog has also given Google an ultimatum: either publishers are given “remuneration for the current use of their copyrighted content,” or Google must pay up to €900,000 a day.

The EU’s “neighboring rights” rule was extended to publishers to ensure that news agencies would be protected by copyright and receive payment for having their articles and photos used by online service providers.

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The US company expressed upset at the French authority’s decision in a statement: “We have acted in good faith during the entire negotiation period. This fine does not reflect the efforts put in place, nor the reality of the use of news content on our platform.”


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