On 11 November, the Spanish Reproduction Rights Centre (CEDRO), the newspaper and magazine publishers collective management organisation, filed a lawsuit against Google on the non-payment of at least €1.1 million royalties for its Google Discover service. The amount is an estimation of the accumulation of the aggregated content through the service but could be proved inaccurate due to lack of data from Google. The mega platform is notoriously known for its lack of transparency and were Google to present all the relevant data for on the use of contents CEDRO could reassess the estimation of the debt, which in turn could potentially increase up to €14 million.
The case was brought forward to the Commercial Court in Madrid, Spain. The claim is not first of its kind in Spain as CEDRO has challenged the mega platform on various occasions since the launch of the service in 2016. This latest claim outlines that Google has not paid the newspaper and magazine publishers their fair share of the used content of news fragments from a number of digital newspaper publications.
The Intellectual Property Law stipulates that companies that aggregate content have the right to aggregate that content without the authorisation from the rightsholders but they must meet responsibilities imposed under the law to meet a set of requirements which includes payment. The law lays down that the aggregators need to provide fair remuneration to the rightsholders through its management entity, which in this case is CEDRO.
CEDRO's lawsuit joins some of the similar processes taken forward by rightsholders in countries like France, Australia and the United States of America.
Following the news on the lawsuit, EPC Executive Director Angela Mills Wade said:
"It is important that publishers exercise the rights granted to them under the law to ensure that users of publishers’ content comply with legal requirements imposed on them, including that of providing fair remuneration for the content they use and benefit from."