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Google sued in France for advertising resold tickets

A court in Paris has prohibited Google from selling keywords to advertisers, including Viagogo and StubHub, which (re)sell tickets without the promoter’s permission.

Ruling in favour of French live music association Prodiss, which brought the case against Google France and Google Ireland (Google’s European headquarters are in Dublin), the Judicial Court of Paris found Google liable for reputational damage to live entertainment professionals, noting that by accepting advertising from ticket resale sites, it may have given fans the false impression that rightsholders benefit from inflated secondary-market prices.

The Tribunal judiciaire additionally declared that Google had “undeniably participated” in facilitating unlawful resale “with full knowledge of the facts”.

Prodiss brought the lawsuit after noticing advertisements for tickets to shows by Rammstein, Drake and Metallica on sites including Viagogo.fr, StubHub.fr and Rocket-Ticket.com at, or near, the top of Google’s search results. In France, it is illegal to sell tickets without authorisation from the event organiser.

The court prohibited Google from allowing the purchase of ad keywords relating to the sale of tickets for shows in France

Google will have one month to act on the ruling, which will apply to all live shows taking place in France, including ticket retailers based elsewhere but selling tickets for French shows.

In the 15 October judgment, the court prohibited Google Ireland, which operates Google Ads (formerly AdWords), from allowing the purchase of advertising keywords relating to the sale of tickets for shows in France, unless the purchaser can prove that they have written authorisation from the rightsholder.

It also ordered Google to pay Prodiss €40,000 for in damages and an additional €20,000 under article 700 of the code of civil procedure (CPC).

In November, Google began accepting advertising from Viagogo once more after having previously banned the site from its AdWords platform.


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