Canada to Compel Digital Platforms to Pay News Outlets -- Update
By Paul Vieira
OTTAWA--Canada said Tuesday it was introducing legislation to
require big digital platforms, such as Meta Platforms Inc.'s
Facebook and Alphabet Inc.'s Google, to compensate domestic media
companies for sharing their news content.
The Liberal government said the legislation would compel digital
platforms to make "fair commercial deals" with news publishers,
which incorporates print, digital and broadcasting outlets. Should
negotiations fail to come to an agreement, the legislation
envisages the two sides entering binding arbitration to determine
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission,
the country's telecommunications and broadcasting regulator, would
be responsible for ensuring enforcement.
Canada promised such legislation last year, following
Australia's implementation of rules effectively requiring Facebook
and to pay traditional media companies for content. Australia's
push prompted Facebook to remove news from its platform in the
country for a period of five days, but later restored after the
company and Australian officials reached an agreement.
Officials said the legislation is needed because Canadians are
turning to digital platforms to access news. Google and Facebook,
combined, account for roughly 80% of online advertising revenue,
officials said in a briefing document.
"The news business in Canada is in crisis," said Pablo
Rodriguez, Canada's heritage minister, who is responsible for
cultural policy. The platforms "continue to profit from the sharing
and distribution of Canadian news content without really paying for
it. We are seeking to address this market imbalance."
Mr. Rodriguez said the Canadian plan is similar to Australia's,
with some adjustments to account for Canadian-specific issues.
The legislation is expected to pass, as the minority Liberal
government enjoys the support of a smaller left-wing party to get
legislation approved. It is unclear how long it will take for the
bill to clear all parliamentary hurdles.
Representatives for Meta and Google said their companies were
examining the legislation to determine its effect.
Besides Australia, Meta has agreed to pay publishers in France
for their news content and previously agreed to commercial deals
with 18 Canadian news publishers. Google's Canadian unit last year
announced it reached financial deals with 11 Canadian
Write to Paul Vieira at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 05, 2022 14:56 ET (18:56 GMT)
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