Google Faces €250 million Fine In France Due To IP Breach

Google Faces €250 million Fine In France Due To IP Breach

The U.S. tech firm has been accused of not negotiating in ‘good faith’ with media companies over use of publishing materials. 

Google has been fined €250 million by French authorities due to an intellectual property agreement breach linked to timely payments made to media firms associated with the company. The authorities reported Google has been reproducing content sourced from third party publishers, citing Google’s AI-chatbot Bard in particular as the culprit for training on materials from media companies without compensation or notification. 

The proceedings were initiated by a collective of French news organisations and the news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP). 

Google has responded to proceed with a settlement with parties involved. The company has also continued to offer solutions for the alleged injury for ‘failing to respect commitments made in 2022,’ according to French authorities. 

The EU introduced a form of copyright recognised as ‘neigbouring rights’ – a rule to allow media firms to seek compensation for their materials. 

Such regulations have been rolled out in France for primary testing by EU authorities as France has battled with the safeguarding of publishing rights of smaller media outlets against major tech platforms. The country became the first EU member to mandate paid compensation for the use of media content by influential tech platforms such as Google to small publishers. 

Despite prior accusations of Google profiting from media outlets without fair compensation, such a mandate has led to remuneration from the tech giant to French publishers, particularly for articles highlighted in Google web searches. Since 2022, Google has entered an agreement with French authorities to continue compensation to associated publishers in the same manner. 

Under this agreement, Google proposed a payment made to media firms within a three month period upon notification of a copyright complaint. 

However, French authorities have discovered a breach in four out of seven commitments made by Google, involving notification of material use and ‘good faith’ negotiations with publishers. Google’s AI chatbot Bard, now known as Gemini, is identified to have trained on unlicensed data from multiple media firms and agencies. 

The authorities said: ‘Google linked the use of the content concerned by its artificial intelligence service to the display of protected content.’ 

Data mining has been an ongoing issue in multiple countries as media firms and publishing companies seek compensation for the unauthorised use of their materials with regards to consent and fair remuneration. 

Google has agreed to settle the dispute, and claims: [The company] want[s] to focus on the larger goal of sustainable approaches to connecting people with quality content and on working constructively with French publishers.’ 

source: The Guardian (link)

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