PARIS — Google is appealing a €500 million fine imposed by France’s competition authority in a case that pits the U.S. tech giant against French press publishers.
“We disagree with a number of legal elements, and believe that the fine is disproportionate to our efforts to reach an agreement and comply with the new law,” Sebastien Missoffe, Google France’s managing director, said in a statement.
In July, the competition authority fined the company for not respecting interim measures imposed last year, which required Google to negotiate “in good faith” with the press industry over licensing fees. The search engine behemoth also has to present a remuneration offer and provide press publishers with the necessary information for them to assess this offer, or face a fine of up to €900,000 per day. The appeal does not suspend those obligations.
Google had until end of August to appeal the decision and has another month to share its arguments. The move could further sour relations between the company and press publishers, at a time when the U.S. tech giant is eager show it is inking deals with the press sector.
“Irrespective of this, we recognize neighboring rights and we continue to work hard to resolve this case and put deals in place. This includes expanding offers to 1,200 publishers, clarifying aspects of our contracts, and we are sharing more data as requested by the French competition authority in their July decision,” Missoffe added.