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Bengaluru, NFAPost: After Google’s appeal against an order by France’s competition watchdog to negotiate with publishers for reuse of snippets of their content, now the Paris court slap-down leaves little legal wiggle room for the tech giant when it comes to shelling out for reusing French publishers’ content. 

Google appeal against an order by France’s competition watchdog to negotiate with publishers for reuse of snippets of their content has failed.

France’s competition authority already ruled it can’t unilaterally withdraw the snippets shown in its Google News aggregator (and elsewhere on its search service) – as it did when the national law came into force, seeking to evade payment.

A Google spokesperson said as announced, Google’s priority remains to reach an agreement with the French publishers and press agencies.

Interim measures

“We appealed to get legal clarity on some parts of the order, and we will now review the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal,” said Google spokesperson.

The company also said it had appealed the interim measures ruling because it had concerns about aspects of the order that it found contradictory and confusing, adding that it continues to have significant concerns with respect to how publisher rights are being interpreted in the country.

Although it also reiterated that the legal process is separate to its ongoing negotiations with French publishers which it said it continues to focus on.

Earlier this month the tech giant announced a $1billion licensing fees fund, which it has called the Google News Showcase, that it said would be paid to news publishers “to create and curate high-quality content” for new story panels to appear on Google News. It added that it would begin making payments in Germany and Brazil, expanding to other markets.

Freebie reuse

The screw is also tightening on Google’s freebie reuse of news in Australia which is closing in on its own legally binding payment framework —- triggering a warning from the tech giant that local access to its ‘free’ services may be at risk.

In another recent development, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) is examining a complaint that search giant Google abused its dominant market position in smart television operating systems, a person aware of the matter said. Anti-trust lawyers Kshitiz Arya and Purushottam Anand filed the complaint with CCI in the first week of June.

Chinese smartphone and TV maker Xiaomi, and TV maker TCL have also been named as parties in the case, since they also manufacture products on the Android platform.

It is interesting note that in India the competition watchdog is investigating Google in two other cases—one involving dominance in smartphones, while the other is for using its market position to promote Google Pay over other apps. The case also comes in the backdrop of many Indian startups opposing Google’s Play Store policies and building their own mini-app stores.

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