News Corp. files antitrust charges against Google in Europe

The media conglomerate says content-scraping by Google is unfair, according to a Wall Street Journal report

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A building at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California, on August 17, 2015.

Credit: Martyn Williams

News Corp. is fighting Google at the European Commission over what it calls improper scraping of content for use in search results, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The owner of the Times of London, the New York Post, the Journal and many other media properties around the world has filed a formal complaint with the Commission, the European Union's executive body, the report said. The story cited an unnamed source familiar with the allegations.

News Corp. charged that Google takes news from its sites and makes it available within Google search results. If a company wants to keep that scraped content out of Google's results, it has to give up on having even links to its stories show up in Google searches, News Corp. alleges, according to the report. The complaint said that's an abuse of Google's dominance in search.

When the content of articles shows up in search results, readers can consume it there without visiting the creator's website, sometimes hurting those companies' businesses, critics say. Web companies such as TripAdvisor and Yelp have attacked the practice.

Content scraping by Google has been the subject of complaints in the past. It was part of a European Commission antitrust investigation begun in 2010 over allegations that Google gave its own search business unfair advantages. The company pledged to stop that practice.

Also on Monday, European Competition Commissioner Margarethe Vestager said the Commission is still investigating antitrust allegations concerning Google’s Android mobile OS and Amazon’s contracts with e-book publishers.

News Corp. and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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