Google faces a heavy fine if a Russian court rules in favor of the Tsargrad TV channel. Court decision to unblock Tsargrad Youtube channel Can put the job IT giant’s work in Russia at risk. Google has asked the TV channel to drop the lawsuit, but media representatives do not want to settle. Tsargrad’s Youtube channel was blocked due to the introduction of personal sanctions against media founder Konstantin Malofeev.
A representative of Google LLC sent to the Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal an explanation of the complaint in which he explained that the restoration of the Youtube channel "Tsargrad" would make it impossible to correctly implement 149-FZ "On Information, Information Technology and Information Protection" (distribution of child pornography, information about how to make drugs, committing suicide or calling for mass riots).
Based on the court’s decision, Google will not be able to remove from search results information banned in Russia that is blocked by the authorities.
Based on 149-FZ for the second half of 2020, Google removed 250, 000 web pages from search results and did not index 167, 000 pages.
Lawyers representing the interests of Google in Russia responded to a letter from "Tsargrad" representatives by saying that it is impossible to restore access to the channel’s content. They also explained that a number of Google services, including monetization, would not be available to the media. The company explains its actions by complying with the requirements of the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury Department.
In the summer of 2020, the media account was blocked. The network then sued Google to restore access to the Youtube channel. The instance fully satisfied media’s lawsuit, ruled the blocking of the account unlawful, and demanded that it be reinstated.
Google was given five days to comply with the court order. After that period for each subsequent day the company must pay a penalty of 100 thousand rubles. After seven months, this amount should reach 94 trillion rubles, which is equal to the capitalization of Alphabet, which owns Google.
In May, Google. challenged court’s decision, calling the fine disproportionate. Company representatives note that the court’s actions create uncertainty for foreign investors.
Konstantin Malofeev was put on the sanctions list of the United States, the European Union and Canada in 2014. He considers the reason for blocking the Tsargrad account because of its being under sanctions to be ridiculous.
In July, Google suggested to peacefully resolve the situation with the blocking of Tsargrad’s Youtube channel. At the same time, the case on restoring access to the account was postponed until August 16.
However, on August 16, Tsargrad retracted from the world with Google. Representatives of the TV channel said that Google is obliged to comply with the court’s decision if the company wants to continue operating in Russia. Malofeyev said that the money Google would pay would go toward creating a Russian alternative to Youtube.