PARIS – France’s competition regulator on Wednesday imposed a hefty new penalty on Google in a long-running dispute over payments to French media outlets for their news.

The Competition Authority fined the Internet giant 250 million euros ($272 million) for breaching some of the commitments made in a negotiating framework.

The dispute is part of broader efforts by authorities in the European Union and around the world to force Google and other technology companies to compensate media outlets for their content.

The U.S. group was forced to negotiate with French publishers after a court in 2020 upheld an order requiring the payments under a 2019 EU copyright directive.

Google explained in a blog post that it agreed to settle the fine, which was imposed for the way it conducted negotiations, “because it’s time to move on.” It added that the penalty “is not proportionate” to the issues raised by the French agency and “does not sufficiently take into account” the company’s efforts to respond and resolve the issues.

France was the first of 27 EU countries to adopt the copyright directive, which sets out how publishers and media outlets can reach licensing agreements with internet platforms.

Wednesday’s decision by the French regulator is the fourth in as many years against Google for failing to comply with the bloc’s legal framework that seeks to establish “the necessary conditions for balanced negotiations between press agencies, publishers and digital platforms.”

In April 2020, the French antitrust agency gave Google three months to negotiate with publishers. A year later, it fined it €500 million ($592 million) for failing to agree on a fair payment for news.

Categorized in:

Tagged in: