SPAIN’S competition authority, the CNMC, has launched a probe into Google and its parent company Alphabet into alleged restrictive practices concerning Spanish publishers and news agencies.
The CNMC in a statement said: “Specifically, these practices consist of the possible imposition of unfair commercial conditions on publishers of press publications and news agencies established in Spain for the exploitation of their copyrighted content.”
“There are rational indications of possible infringements,“ the CNMC added.
They will investigate whether Google broke Spain’s competition laws by abusing their dominant market position and hindering free competition.
The CNMC investigation will last for up to 18 months and was prompted by a 2021 complaint from the Spanish Reproduction Rights Centre (CEDRO)- an group representing writers and publishers.
CEDRO legal director, Javier Diaz de Olarte, said: “Google has not treated press publishers in an appropriate way under competition rules or in the same manner as other similar companies operating in the market.”
The complaint talks about protecting intellectual property rights and asserts that Google is threatening the ‘plurality, independence, and freedom of the press’ in Spain
The CNMC did not specify the period to be covered by the probe, nor what sanctions Google could face if it is proven the company abused its strong market position in the country.
The European Union and several member states have in recent years taken steps to stop companies like Google from hindering competition, as well as tax avoidance on profits made from accessing news articles.
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