Google faces a fine of 250 million euros from the French Competition Authority

Google faces a fine of 250 million euros from the French Competition Authority
Google faces a fine of 250 million euros from the French Competition Authority

France’s antitrust authorities announced on Wednesday that they have fined Alphabet’s Google 250 million euros ($271.73 million) for breaking EU intellectual property laws in its transactions with media publishers, citing concerns over the company’s AI service.

Citing worries about the company’s AI service, France’s competition authority said on Wednesday that it penalized Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O) and opened a new tab for 250 million euros ($271.73 million) for violations of EU intellectual property laws in its dealings with media publishers.

The watchdog said that without informing publishers or news organizations, Google’s AI-powered chatbot Bard—which has since changed its name to Gemini—was trained on their content.

The watchdog stated that Google has promised not to dispute the facts in the settlement process and that it has also put out a number of corrective actions to address certain issues.

A request for comment was not immediately answered by Google’s French office.

A copyright dispute over internet content in France, which was brought about by complaints from some of the largest news organizations in the nation, including Agence France Presse (AFP), is connected to the penalties.

After a thorough study by the Autorite de la Concurrence, the American tech giant dropped its appeal against a 500 million euro punishment, thus resolving the matter in 2022.

However, the watchdog claimed in its statement on Wednesday that Google had broken four of the seven terms of the settlement, including the agreements to conduct conversations with publishers in good faith and to provide transparent information.

The fine is a result of numerous publishers, authors, and newsrooms trying to restrict the automatic data collection of their web content by AI services, known as “scraping,” without getting adequate remuneration in exchange.

In 2023, the New York Times filed a lawsuit against Microsoft (MSFT.O), a competitor of Google, and OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, the well-known artificial intelligence platform, alleging that they had improperly used millions of the newspaper’s articles to train chatbots.

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