The French press continues its showdown with Google, initiated for many years. Henceforth, it is the Competition Authority which gives the Mountain View firm 3 months to negotiate an agreement with publishers and press agencies to provide them with exchange information in particular on Google News. But is this showdown really balanced?
Press editors have been fighting Google for ages, trying to get paid for the information they source and which is picked up by the leading search engine, particularly on its Google News site.
A new episode in this fight has just seen the light of day with the Competition Authority which gives Google an ultimatum of 3 months to negotiate with the publishers and press agencies the remuneration which is due to them under the relative law neighboring rights for the resumption of their protected content.
Here is the request as summarized on the organization’s website: Seizure in November 2019 by several unions representing press publishers (Syndicate of Editors of the Press Magazine, the Alliance of General Information Press) as well as by the Agence France-Presse (AFP) of practices implemented by Google on the occasion of the entry into force of the law of 24 July 2019 on neighboring rights, the Competition Authority is today ordering emergency measures in the part of the procedure of provisional measures. The Authority considered that Google’s practices on the occasion of the entry into force of the law on neighboring rights were likely to constitute an abuse of a dominant position, and would seriously and immediately damage the press sector.
It therefore enjoins Google, within three months, to conduct negotiations in good faith with publishers and press agencies on the remuneration of the resumption of their protected content. This negotiation will have to cover, retroactively, the rights of the 00fbs as from the entry into force of the law on October 24, 2019.
The fight is not recent and the same questions I ask are recurrent: is it right that news organizations claim a Google payment while the latter sends them traffic that allows them to (on )live ? Indeed, without the traffic brought by Google, most of the press sites will die, it is a certainty in view of their level of dependence compared to the volume of visits drained by the tools of the American company. Admit that we find it better as a balanced situation in terms of a showdown
Can Google stop its news search site in France?
And the situation remains the same: if the press sites continue to request payment for the use of their content and if the legislation compels the Mountain View firm to remunerate them, Google will shut down the Google News site in France , as he already did in Spain. And will cut the traffic tap to press sites which will then find themselves in a situation that is more than problematic at the economic level.
Stopping Google News in France should not pose many problems Google, since this tool, virgin of advertisements, earns him only very little money. The impact is therefore likely to be more than balanced, in favor of the French press, if the situation gets bogged down. Because Google can not afford to pay for the sites it uses on its news site, this would create a jurisprudence which could extend to all the sites indexed on this tool, even on its web search engine, which is clearly unthinkable in the current state of things
From the search engine, we declare by the voice of Richard Gingras, vice president responsible for news at Google: We are talking to a large number of press publishers in order to increase our support and our investments for the benefit in the press sector. We will comply with the decision of the French Competition Authority, which we are currently analyzing, while continuing these negotiations.
In short, the matter is being followed closely since its implications can be significant, not only on search engines, but also on the entire Web, in our opinion, there is very little chance that it will end in favor of organizations. French press, but who knows
The explanation of neighboring rights. Source: Competition Authority
Measures requested against Google. Source: Competition Authority