France’s competition authority said on Thursday that it has ordered Google to negotiate fee payments with French news sites for displaying previews of their articles.
The ruling is an interim measure pending full examination of a complaint by French press groups about how the internet giant has implemented EU copyright rules that came into effect in France in 2019.
The U.S.-based search engine provider decided to stop showing previews for news articles in French search results unless the news providers consented to their use without a fee.
Fearing the loss of traffic from search results, many publishers agreed.
France’s Autorite de la Concurrence said Google may have abused its dominant position by imposing unfair negotiating conditions and frustrating the purpose of the new rules, which was to give news publishers more of the value created by their content.
Google must now negotiate in good faith with any publishers who so wish and agree payment for previews of their content, the authority ruled.
The search engine must continue to show previews for the moment, and any payment agreed will be retroactive, covering the period since the rules came into effect on Oct. 24.
“Since the European Copyright law came into force in France last year, we have been engaging with publishers to increase our support and investment in news,” Google said in response to the ruling.
“We will comply with the FCA’s order while we review it and continue those negotiations,’’ the company added.