Google Fined $272 Mn by France for Unauthorized AI Training on Publisher Content

The company used media content from press agencies illegally to train its generative AI chatbot Gemini (formerly Bard).
Google Fined $272 Mn by France for Unauthorized AI Training on Publisher Content
Representative image by freepik.

France has imposed a hefty fine of $272 million on big tech Google for its reasons including unauthorized use of media content from press agencies to train its generative AI chatbot Gemini (formerly Bard).

“The question of whether the use of press publications as part of an artificial intelligence service qualifies for protection under related rights regulations has not yet been settled. At the very least, the Autorité considers that Google breached Commitment 1 by failing to inform publishers of the use of their content for their Bard software,” the French Competition Authority or the Autorité de la concurrence (FCA) states.

It also mentions that Google failed to meet transparency with French news publishers.

It wasn't until September 2023, six months after Bard's launch, that Google finally introduced a setting change for press agencies to opt out of AI training. Prior to this, publishers had to manually insert instructions opposing Google's crawling of their content, impacting discussions on remuneration.

Despite not contesting the findings, Google criticized the fine as disproportionate. 

Sulina Connal, Google's Managing Director for News and Publishing Partnerships, argues that the competition authority failed to acknowledge the efforts made by Google to address publisher concerns. 

“The absence of clear regulatory measures and successive legal actions have complicated negotiations with publishers and prevent us from calmly considering our future investments in the field of information in France,” reads Connal’s statement in an official blog.

The conflict between Google and French publishers traces back to 2019 when news media raised concerns about online aggregators, including Google, not adequately compensating them under EU law. The EU Copyright Directive of 2019 mandated online platforms to pay press publishers to display their news content and provide usage information.

Related Stories

No stories found.
CDO Magazine