The French court of appeals confirmed this week that Google must begin negotiations with local publications to pay for using their content in search results.
The court has essentially validated an earlier decision by the country’s Competition Authority. The court rejected Google’s argument that the competition watchdog overstepped its authority in its April decision. The ruling instructs the tech giant to engage in finding a sustainable method to pay publishers and news agencies within three months.
“Google’s practice has caused serious and immediate damage to the press sector, while the economic situation of publishers and news agencies is unstable.” — claimed the Competition Authority in April.
The decision’s legal basis lies in the copyright law adopted by the European Parliament. According to this law, publications can demand from search engines a fee for using their materials (title, photos, lead) in search results snippets.
“Google’s conduct amounted to saying: I’m offering you a contract under which you give me all your rights for no remuneration,” — France’s antitrust chief Isabelle de Silva said.
Google, which appealed the Competition Authority’s ruling, claims their priority is to negotiate with media outlets, and they appealed to “get legal clarity on some parts of the order”. The company says they are reviewing the court’s ruling at the moment.
This year, Google has been under a similar attack in Australia. The country’s federal government is seeking to develop a legislation that would force tech platforms to pay for news content.