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Google agreement with French publishers on hold

Google agreement with French publishers reported to be on hold

Google’s agreement to pay a number of French publishers for editorial content is reported to be on hold waiting for a decision by French competition authority that has been critical to the agreement. Background is that the agreement means Google would only pay a limited number of publishers and not compensate all publishers for using their editorial content online which would be more in line with the updated EU copyright directive.

Google in a statement said the company is still working with publishers and the French competition authority on “our agreements in order to finalise and sign more deals.”

The French competition authority just weeks ago ruled that Google had to change its advertising Google Ad Manager to be more open and less prioritizing its own solutions. Google was also fined 220 million euros for abusing its advertising power.

The competition authority some months ago made a study of Google’s negotiations with publishers but the result was never published.

France was the first European country that implemented the updated EU copyright directive in its national legislation. Google opposed the legislation saying that it would only use content from publishers that agreed to give it for free and not use the new legislation’s option of charging for it.

French authorities said Google was abusing its dominating position and instructed the company to negotiate with the publishers based on the legislation. After several months, Google announced that it had reached an agreement with a number of publishers to pay them for editorial content for Google News Showcase.

French publishers left out of the agreement protested saying it was not in line with the EU copyright directive and French law.

It is this agreement, to start paying some publishers for news to Google News Showcase, that is reported to be on hold waiting for what the French competition authority will say.

Google News Showcase recently announced agreements with some German publishers. German competition authority has announced it is investigating if Google’s leaving some publishers out of the agreement is a violation of anti-trust rules.

In Denmark, some 30 publishers have announced that, based on the new EU copyright directive, they will approach Google and Facebook for joint negotiations. Denmark a couple of weeks ago implemented the EU copyright directive in Danish law.

Google and Facebook have said they will pay for content to Google News Showcase and Facebook News respectively but that this is only for publishers that they chose.

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