Google Vs.French Media: Google Fined For $283 Million Over Copyright Dispute

By Thea Felicity

Mar 20, 2024 12:13 PM EDT

Guests attend the inauguration of a Google Artificial Intelligence (AI) hub in Paris on February 15, 2024.
(Photo : Photo by ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images)

Google vs. French media has begun after French regulators imposed a hefty fine of €250 million ($280 million) for alleged breaches of intellectual property rules, per The Guardian

In the same report, French media specifically cited concerns regarding the tech giant's negotiations with publishers over the usage of online content. 

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The Role of French Regulators in Google vs. French Media Dispute

Google's fine by French media stems from a dispute related to news media publishers. This is part of an ongoing struggle to ensure fair compensation in the rise of digital platforms. 

At present, the Google vs. French media battle started after the tech giant failed to uphold commitments made in 2022 regarding fair compensation for publishers for using their content. 

Despite Google's attempts to resolve the issues by suggesting corrective actions, the regulator judged these efforts as inadequate, resulting in the €250 million ($280 million) fine. 

Google's fine is heavier because France is a testing ground for EU regulations. In 2019, the country became the inaugural EU member state to implement a directive aimed at safeguarding the publishing rights of media entities and news agencies. 

This directive mandated that major tech platforms engage in discussions with publishers to negotiate compensation for the utilization of news content.

Although both faced initial opposition, both Google and Facebook eventually acquiesced, agreeing to provide financial compensation to certain French media outlets for articles displayed in online searches.

Why Did France Fine Google Millions?

The recent fine imposed on Google is directly associated with a copyright disagreement centered in France concerning online content. This legal battle originated from grievances in 2019 by prominent French news organizations, including major magazines, newspapers, and Agence France-Presse (AFP).

In its statement on Wednesday, the regulatory body highlighted Google's breach of four out of seven commitments established in the 2022 settlement. 

These violations included failure to negotiate with publishers in good faith and lack of transparency in providing information. The watchdog specifically pointed to Google's AI chatbot, Bard, introduced in 2023, allegedly trained on data from undisclosed media sources and news agencies without proper notification.

To mend the Google vs. French media fiasco, the tech giant revealed they had already settled the fine.

"We've settled because it's time to move on, and as our many agreements with publishers show, we want to focus on the larger goal of sustainable approaches to connecting people with quality content and working constructively with French publishers.

READ MORE: Ex-Google Software Engineer Charged With Stealing AI Trade Secrets for China-Based Companies

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