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Competition panel to probe complaints against Google

Several countries, including Australia, France and Spain have passed legislation requiring tech companies, including Google to adequately compensate content producers for using their content on search results.

The European Publishers Council had also filed a competition complaint against Google

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered an investigation, by its director general, into complaints against Google that the tech giant has allegedly abused its dominant position qua the news publishers.

In its information, INS has stated that Alphabet (parent company), Google, Google India, Google Ireland, and Google Asia Pacific are allegedly abusing their dominant position related to News Referral Services and Google Ad Tech Services in the Indian online news media market, which is in violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002.

The INS has highlighted the fact that the producer/publisher of news which are made available in digital format, are not being paid a fair value for their content, despite them having invested heavily in creating appropriate content for the customers, who search for news items using the Google platform. Several countries, including Australia, France and Spain have passed legislation requiring tech companies, including Google to adequately compensate content producers for using their content on search results.

The News Media Houses are completely kept in the dark on the total advertising revenue collected by Google and what actual percentage of the advertising revenue is being transferred to media organisations. The European Publishers Council had also filed a competition complaint against Google alleging that Google has achieved end to end control of the ad tech value chain, thus abusing its dominant position.

The CCI after examining the contentions of INS, the representative organisation of newspapers in the country, found that prima facie these allegations of abuse of dominant position are under the purview of the Competition Act, 2002 and that it requires a detailed investigation by the director general.

CCI accordingly passed an order to club the information submitted by the INS with the submissions made by the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) who have also filed information before the CCI on similar contentions.

The Indian Newspaper Society has been working towards obtaining proper compensation for content generation for its Members and other news publishers for fair payment and transparency from Google. The INS looks forward to the implementation of a just payment system at the earliest.

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