News organizations have been facing harsher and harsher competition from news aggregators like Google
By submitting the proposal, analysts say Google and its parent company Alphabet hope to avoid costly regulatory intervention by European authorities. Critics say that Google is trying to establish global news licensing agreements in order to get out of paying for costly legal requirements.
Google's proposal includes a guarantee to negotiate with news organizations "in good faith" in order to establish payment practices. France's Competition Authority says that all involved parties have until January 31, 2022, to respond to Google's proposal. Google has three months to formulate and submit a formal payment offer to the news publishers.
If Google fails to submit a payment offer that the news companies agree to, the issue could move into arbitration court where a pay rate could be set.
Google says that its proposal to the French watchdog group is representative of the company's wish to make progress towards resolving the current copyright dispute issue.
In November, France enacted a copyright law that requires big tech companies to negotiate with news organizations seeking payment for licensing. Since the law's introduction, Google has been paying Agence France-Presse for permission to use the publisher's copyrighted material. A mandatory publisher negotiations law introduced in Australia had similar effects in that country.
In June of this year, Google was charged $270 million in fines from the French watchdog. In that case, the company was accused of abusing its power over the digital advertising market in order to squeeze out news platforms that also make money off of advertising. As a result, Google agreed to adjust its advertising technology. Similar cases have been brought in the U.S. and Britain.
Previously, Google has made attempts to avoid ever paying for news content, entirely. This included removing snippets of content in search results if the publisher had not agreed to allow Google to post the copyrighted material for free.
Given the lack of specifics in the information provided regarding Google's recently submitted proposal, it's likely that the company's antitrust woes are far from over.