Google has ‘serious’ concerns with bill requiring platforms to pay for news



Google is elevating “severe” concerns a couple of Liberal bill that seeks to require tech giants to pay media shops in alternate for placing their news content material on-line.

Bill C-18, which the federal government launched within the spring, would create a framework inside which “digital news intermediaries,” or main on-line platforms, should negotiate offers with eligible news media.

News organizations have largely hailed the bill, which is analogous to a legislation handed in Australia final 12 months, although some have raised concerns concerning the standards used to decide which shops are eligible.

Colin McKay, Google Canada’s head of public coverage and authorities relations, instructed a House of Commons committee Tuesday that the bill as it’s at the moment written might unintentionally elevate misinformation and propaganda.

McKay mentioned a provision within the bill that will maintain platforms from giving “undue choice” to sure news shops would forestall Google from elevating “trusted data sources” over lower-quality content material.

In different international locations, equivalent to Germany, “unhealthy actors” have “gamed and misused” related provisions, he mentioned, including that the corporate plans to propose particular amendments to the committee.

McKay additionally argued that the construction of the bill serves to profit bigger organizations over smaller ones and will incentivize the manufacturing of clickbait, saying that Google’s understanding is that the variety of hyperlinks showing on its search engine would have an effect on compensation for news shops.

He insisted that the corporate shares the laws’s objective to assist “a sustainable future for journalism and the news” in Canada.

“We are right here as a result of we would like to take part in a radical dialog concerning the particulars of this laws so it could transfer ahead and be carried out in a method that achieves the general public coverage targets,” he mentioned.

Other witnesses representing news organizations instructed the committee the bill is a crucial step that might stage the net taking part in discipline.

They pointed to the Australian legislation and argued {that a} authorized requirement for on-line firms to pay for journalism is lengthy overdue.

“This is actual cash for actual journalism,” mentioned Ben Scott, director of Reset Media. “Laws like this are going to be made all the world over, and Canada, in my opinion, has a possibility to lead and set a excessive customary that may ship for the Canadian public.”

One of the sticking factors for representatives of smaller shops is the bill’s provision that media would solely qualify to negotiate offers if they’ve at the very least two full-time journalists on employees.

It “places us in a little bit of a clumsy spot,” mentioned Dennis Merrell, government director of the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association, as a result of one thing like half of his members can be unable to profit.

But Kevin Desjardins, president of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, prompt the measure units a “low bar” and will encourage the hiring of extra journalists.

The bill accommodates a provision that will exempt tech giants in the event that they have already got offers with news companies that fulfill sure standards, together with editorial independence.

McKay mentioned Google is already get together to agreements with Canadian publishers, 90 per cent of that are “small, native or regional.”

A spokesperson later clarified that the agreements signify “greater than 150 publications,” fairly than publishers. They embrace heavy hitters equivalent to Torstar, The Globe and Mail, Postmedia and Le Devoir.

The bill would additionally strengthen the oversight of the Canada Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, permitting it to hear complaints from news companies that argue they’re unjustly deprived by on-line platforms.

The regulator can be allowed to levy administrative financial penalties for any contravention of the brand new legislation, and it will be required to rent an impartial auditor to put together an annual report on the influence of the measures on the “Canadian digital news market.”


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