French media take Google to competition regulator

France was the first country to ratify a new EU copyright law which was passed this year and comes into force on Thursday to ensure publishers are compensated when their work is displayed online. AFP

French media said Thursday they would report Google to the country's competition regulator over its refusal to pay news companies for displaying their content in defiance of a strict new EU copyright law.

The APIG press alliance, which groups dozens of national, regional and local newspapers, said it would also press the French government to take action against the US internet giant.

International news agency Agence France-Presse, which is not a member of the alliance, said it was preparing a separate complaint.

France was the first country to ratify a new EU copyright law which was passed this year and comes into force on Thursday to ensure publishers are compensated when their work is displayed online.

But Google said articles, pictures and videos would be shown in search results only if media firms consent to let the tech giant use them for free.

If they refuse, only a headline and a bare link to the content will appear, Google said, almost certainly resulting in a loss of visibility and potential ad revenue for the publisher.

On Wednesday, hundreds of journalists urged European officials to take action against the internet giant.

About 800 journalists, as well as photographers, filmmakers and media CEOs, signed an open letter published in newspapers across Europe urging governments to ensure that Google and other tech firms comply with the new EU rule.

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