The European Commission is currently pushing three separate antitrust cases against Google. In this unprecedented initiative to stamp out any potential anti-competitive practices in Europe, the Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is looking into tech giant's Android, Google Search, and AdWords businesses and has filed official charges on all three fronts. While Vestager herself recently stated that her team already has their hands full with existing cases and isn't planning an official investigation into company's controversial tax deals, new legal trouble for Google may still be in the making.
Speaking to reporters during a conference held last week, Vestager said that there's still room for further action against Google as numerous complaints about content scraping have recently been filed against the Mountain View-based company. For the uninitiated, content scrapping is a term describing the practice of copying content from websites without compensation. While it may seem strange that EU's chief competition commissioner is bothering which such allegations, it's worth noting that the aforementioned complaints weren't made by some random blogs but major media companies and websites including Getty Images, News Corp, and a whole lot of German outlets. Granted, Vestager admitted that she isn't ready to make any decisions on this front given how she's currently focusing her efforts on existing cases against Google but stated that accusations of content scrapping aren't to be taken lightly.
Regardless of whether these allegations against Google are true or not, EU's commissioner is certainly right – content scrapping implies not only competition but also copyright-related issues which usually translate to a world of legal trouble for the accused party. However, if Vestager decides to take action against Google on this front, that probably won't happen before late 2017 or early 2018 when the aforementioned antitrust case against the company's Search service is expected to be concluded. However, the Danish-born EU official isn't the only one with the authority to act on complaints about content scraping. The European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Guenther Oettinger also has his sights on this practice and has just proposed new copyright legislation which would allow traditional media outlets to demand compensation from all news aggregators including Google. There's still no word on whether the European Commission approves this legislation but more information is expected to follow soon.