On January 31, the News Media Alliance submitted comments with the French competition authority, Autorité de la concurrence, regarding Google’s proposed commitments to settle the Autorité’s investigation into Google’s suspected abuse of dominant position in relation to its negotiations with news publishers under the European Union’s Copyright Directive. Article 15 of the Directive, adopted in 2019, created an ancillary copyright for news publishers to receive compensation for the use of their content by online platforms and France was the first EU member state to implement it in national law. The Autorité started its investigation following complaints from the French publishers regarding Google’s negotiating practices. The watchdog then issued a €500 million fine against the company last year. In December, Google proposed commitments to address these concerns, including a proposed arbitration to resolve disputes between the company and the publishers. The Autorité requested public comments on the commitments in order to evaluate whether to accept them. The Alliance comments expressed support for the French and European publishers and noted the importance of an Australian-style baseball arbitration instead of standard arbitration rules as well as the availability of adequate information exchange to allow publishers to properly evaluate compensation offers. Read the Alliance comments available in English and French, and more about the Google commitments here.
Members of the News/Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.