Canada Publishers Ready to Work With Google on Proposed Changes to Online News Law
By Paul Vieira
OTTAWA--Canada's news publishers commended Google on Thursday
for recommending "good faith" changes to the country's law
compelling digital platforms to compensate media outlets.
Late last week, Google, a unit of Alphabet, said Canada needed
to make at least eight changes to the law, or else it would remove
links to news articles on its search function for Canadian users
starting in December. Its demands were included in a submission to
the federal government.
"Google's submission is a welcome, clear, constructive, good
faith articulation of legitimate concerns," said News Media Canada,
a lobby group that has advocated for the Liberal government
measures aimed at providing financial support to the struggling
media sector. "We are in agreement with many of the issues they
Among the key elements News Media Canada is backing is a limit
on how big a financial contribution digital companies, notably
Google and Meta Platforms, would make to media outlets. The changes
Google seeks cover issues such as which media outlets qualify for
compensation, copyright limitations and how digital platforms can
obtain exemptions to the law.
"We are ready to sit down and work through the details of these
issues before the regulations are finalized," News Media Canada
said in a statement sent via email.
The law, known as the Online News Act, was approved by
parliament last June. At that time, Google issued its first warning
about removing links to news articles on searches by Canadian users
unless the Liberal government made changes. Meta Platforms started
in August blocking news links for Canadian users of Facebook and
Instagram rather than be subject to the law.
In its submission, Google said the law, "while well intended, is
built upon a fundamentally flawed premise, yielding an unworkable
framework and process that the regulations unfortunately do not
remedy -- and in certain instances, exacerbate."
Google and Meta have argued the legislation exposes them to
uncertain financial liability because it puts a price on free links
to web pages, which contravenes copyright legislation and upends
the concept of an open internet where users can search and connect
to material without restrictions.
Canada's minister in charge of media policy said last week the
government is willing to talk to Google about striking the
appropriate balance with its law. Under the law, digital platforms
would be compelled to strike commercial deals with news publishers
for their content. Should negotiations fail, the legislation calls
for the two sides to enter binding arbitration to determine
Canadian officials have said the rationale behind requiring Meta
and Google to pay for news content is to support a media sector
struggling from the shift of advertising sales from print and
broadcast to the online sphere.
Small and mid-sized online-only publishers say Meta's decision
to block news links has resulted in a sharp drop in traffic visits
that had previously been driven by links featured on Facebook and
Write to Paul Vieira at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 12, 2023 19:34 ET (23:34 GMT)
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