French regulator fines Google $271M over generative AI copyright issue – CIO

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France’s competition authority fined Google, its parent company Alphabet, and two subsidiaries a total of €250 million ($271 million) for breaching a previous agreement on using copyrighted content for training its Bard AI service, now known as Gemini.

The Autorité de la concurrence said Wednesday that the search giant failed to comply with a June 2022 settlement over the use of news stories in its search results, News and Discover pages. Google avoided a fine at that point by pledging to enter into good-faith negotiations over compensation with news providers for their content, among other steps.

Specifically, according to the authority, Google agreed to provide news agencies and publishers with a “transparent assessment” of their remuneration for usage rights, and to make certain that the negotiations didn’t impinge on “other economic relations” between Google and the publishers.

However, Google has failed to maintain those commitments in several ways, the authority said. First, it has not been sufficiently forthcoming in its information sharing with its representatives, failing to provide information necessary for the monitoring of the agreement in a timely way. Second, the company has failed to provide full details about how it makes money from news content, which also violates its 2022 commitments.

Finally, the authority accused Google of using news content to train its Bard AI service (now called Gemini), without the permission of the publishers, and without providing access to an opt-out tool that would have let them contest the AI usage.

“The Autorité considers the fact that Google did not inform editors and press agencies of the use of their content by its service Bard to be a breach of its obligation of transparency,” the authority’s statement said.

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