8 June 2021, Budapest – The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has initiated a proceeding against Google in order to investigate whether it is giving preferential treatment to its own services in a way that infringes competition law by displaying a so-called lyrics card when users search for song titles with the help of its search engine.

         The GVH has launched a competition supervision proceeding against Google in relation to the so-called lyrics card service it provides. The Authority is investigating whether the California-based undertaking is unfairly influencing the competition between market players that publish song lyrics by displaying its own lyrics viewing service above the organic search results and thus the links to relevant websites when users search for songs and lyrics with the help of its search engine. This is due to the fact that the so-called lyrics card is suitable for blocking out all other results listed by the search engine, particularly in the case of mobile devices, and it also promotes Google’s own service (YouTube).

         The GVH pays special attention to monitoring the behaviour of large technology undertakings, which are able to influence the interests and situation of a significant number of consumers and undertakings. At the end of 2019, the GVH imposed a significant, HUF 1.2 billion fine on Facebook, and in the summer of 2018, it ordered Google to fulfil certain obligations. Furthermore, the Authority is currently investigating the behaviour of Viber, which belongs to the Rakuten Group, as well as TikTok, a service operated by ByteDance.

         The initiation of the competition supervision proceeding does not mean that the undertaking has in fact committed the suspected infringement. The proceeding is aimed at clarifying the facts and thereby proving the alleged infringement. The time limit for the completion of the proceeding is six months which, where justified, may be extended on two occasions by a maximum of six months each.

The official registration number of the case is: VJ/24/2021.

GVH Press Office

Printable version in PDF