EU's Vestager does not rule out action over Google scraping complaint

October 14, 2016 9:02 AM EDT

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager holds a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir


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By Foo Yun Chee

FLORENCE (Reuters) - The EU's antitrust regulator, who has accused Alphabet unit Google of stifling competition in three separate cases, left open the possibility of further action against the U.S. technology giant.

Complaints have been made about Google's practice of copying content from websites without payment in what is known as scraping. Complainants include News Corp, Getty Images [GETTY.UL] and German publishers.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU's Competition Commissioner said this was not on her radar for now but did not rule out future action. She is concentrating on the three ongoing cases, the first of which has dragged on since 2010. Antitrust cases typically take between three to eight years or even longer.

"We are not taking any decisions yet," Vestager told reporters on the sidelines of a conference organized by the International Bar Association on Friday.

The European Competition Commission has in the last year charged Google of using its market power to promote its own products at rivals' expense after a spate of complaints from European and U.S. companies.

Vestager said she was aware of the competition and copyright issues related to scraping. Her peer in charge of digital issues, Guenther Oettinger, recently proposed copyright legislation which needs approval from EU lawmakers and EU countries before it can be implemented.

Vestager said the proposed rules would not hinder her work.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)



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