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Canada’s Online News Act targets Facebook and Google

The Canadian parliament passed a law requiring technology companies to pay domestic news outlets to link to their articles, prompting the owners of Facebook and Instagram to remove news articles from both platforms in the country. Will give

The law, passed on Thursday, is the latest attempt by governments around the world to force big companies like Google and Facebook to pay for the news they share on their platforms – a campaign that the companies have resisted at almost every turn. Have done

With some caveats, the new Canadian law will force search engines and social media companies to engage in a bargaining process and mediate if necessary to license news content for their use.

The law, the Online News Act, was created in line with passed in australia two years ago, It was designed to “enhance fairness in the Canadian digital news market and contribute to its stability”. official summary, It was not clear as of Friday morning when exactly the law would go into effect.

Supporters of the law see it as a victory for the news media as it battles to offset declining advertising revenue attributed to Silicon Valley companies capturing the market for online advertising.

“A strong, free and independent press is fundamental to our democracy,” said Pablo Rodriguez, Canadian Heritage Minister in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government. wrote on Twitter late Thursday night, “The Online News Act will help ensure that tech giants negotiate fair and equitable deals with news organizations.”

Tech companies feel differently.

Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, had first warned Lawmakers said that if the legislation passed it would block the availability of news on both platforms for Canadian users. The company said Thursday that it now plans to do just that. The Associated Press reported, Representatives for Meta, Facebook and Instagram did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In a separate statement, a Google spokesperson criticized Legislation Called it “impractical” and said the company proposed “thoughtful and practical solutions” to improve it.

Google told Canadian lawmakers Debate over the legislation in May raised unrealistic expectations of “unlimited subsidies for the Canadian media” among politicians and news publishers. Among other changes, Google suggested requiring tech companies to pay to “display” news content, not link to it.

“As of now, none of our concerns have been resolved,” Google spokeswoman Jen Crider said in a statement Thursday. He did not say what the company plans to do about the legislation and declined to comment further on the record.

Similar battles have been going on for years in other countries as well.

Countries in the European Union are trying to implement a copyright directive The bloc adopted a move in 2019 to compel Google, Facebook and other platforms to compensate news organizations for their content.

In Australia, parliament passed a law in 2021 that forces Google and Facebook to pay for news content that appears on their platforms. At the time, Google appeared to effectively surrender by announcing a three-year global deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to pay for the publisher’s news content. Facebook took a contrary stance, saying it would immediately ban people and publishers in Australia from sharing or viewing news links.

and in the United States, the Department of Justice and a group of eight states sued Google in January, accused the company of illegally abusing its monopoly on the technology that powers online advertising. The lawsuit was the department’s first antitrust lawsuit against a tech giant under President Biden.

California is also threatening to apply legal pressure on the tech companies. This month, the state legislature voted to advance a bill in the state senate. Taxing tech companies to distribute news articles, meta Said It responded by saying it would be “forced” to remove news from Facebook and Instagram if the bill became law.

This month, Mr. Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, suggested he was unwilling to compromise with tech companies on the Online News Act.

“The fact that these internet giants want to cut off Canadians’ access to local news instead of paying them their fair share is a real problem, and now they are using intimidation tactics to try to get their way.” resorting to,” he told reporters, “It will not work.”

Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa who is an expert in the rules governing the Internet and e-commerce, has said the effort could backfire.

“This will disproportionately harm small and independent media outlets and leave the sector vulnerable to poor quality sources,” Professor Geist said. “Worst part: It was completely predictable and avoidable.”

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