France/Neighboring rights: Competition accepts Google’s commitments, closes its proceedings, Company news

(Updated with statements from Google)

PARIS, June 21 (Reuters) – The French Competition Authority announced on Tuesday that it had accepted commitments offered by Google in the neighboring rights case and that it was closing open fund proceedings against the American digital giant. in this file.

The Competition Authority also declared that Google had waived an appeal against a fine of 500 million euros, which therefore becomes final.

The American group had been fined by the Competition Authority, which considered last July that the group had not negotiated in good faith with publishers and press agencies on the application of related rights.

Google has since offered a series of commitments to address concerns expressed by publishers and news agencies.

The group thus undertakes to “negotiate in good faith” with the latter the remuneration for the resumption of protected content on its platforms, to transmit information making it possible to evaluate the income resulting from the display of their protected content or yet to respect an arbitration procedure in the event of deadlock in the discussions on the amount of remuneration.

“The Autorité considers that the commitments proposed by Google are likely to put an end to the competition concerns expressed and present a substantial, plausible and verifiable nature. It has therefore decided to accept them and to make them mandatory”, announced the institution in a press release.

These commitments will be applied for a period of five years and renewable once for five more years, specified the Authority.

Neighboring rights allow the media to be remunerated by large companies reusing their content on the Internet. They were established by a European directive of 2019, transposed into French law.

Several publishers had notably accused Google of not giving them access to some of its traffic data allowing them to determine remuneration for news published online.

In a message posted on the group’s blog, Sébastien Missoffe, vice-president and general manager of Google France, specifies that Google has concluded agreements on neighboring rights with more than 150 publications in France.

“Over the past two years, we have worked hard to agree a framework for negotiation with publishers and the French Competition Authority, to determine the level of remuneration for the use of their protected content, on the based on transparent, objective and non-discriminatory criteria”, says Sébastien Missoffe.

“We are determined to contribute to the information ecosystem and we will continue to work towards the conclusion of other agreements (..) in order to further support journalism in France”, he adds. (Report Dominique Vidalon, written by Myriam Rivet and Laetitia Volga, edited by Kate Entringer and Matthieu Protard)

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