Over the years, Google's had to appear in French courts several times, and it now looks like a recent case didn't go so well. Google's been found guilty of breaching copyright laws, and unless something changes, the company faces a fine of almost $600,000.
Granted, in objective financial terms, that wouldn't mean much to Google, which has a market cap of about $191 billion. The bigger problems would be the PR blow and the precedent this ruling would establish.
The AFP article that broke the story (at least in English) explained, "The appeal court action pitted Google France and Google Inc. on one side against film producers Mondovino, a photographer and some documentary makers. . . . The complainants argued that their works were appearing on line, via the Google search engine and sometimes directly on Google Video, despite their demands that such material be withdrawn."
So a loss here means Google is supposed to be more vigilant than ever in terms of censoring search results and monitoring uploads, which could leave the company open to more lawsuits in the future.
Google may appeal the ruling and hope for a more favorable decision next time, though.
The $600,000 is supposed to be hit Google in addition to legal costs, by the way, giving the company even more incentive to have its lawyers try again.