In a significant development for the media landscape in Canada, Google has reached a groundbreaking agreement with the Canadian government, securing the continued inclusion of news links in its search results. As part of the deal, Google will contribute $73.6 million annually (C$100 million) to news publishers in the country.
The agreement marks a resolution to Google’s concerns over Canada’s Online News Act, which aims to ensure that major internet companies share advertising revenue with news publishers. This legislation, part of a global trend seeking compensation for news from tech giants, was passed in June. The government is currently finalizing rules, expected to be released by a December 19 deadline.
Canada’s Heritage Minister, Pascale St-Onge, expressed satisfaction with the outcome, stating, “Following weeks of productive discussions, I am happy to announce that we have found a path forward with Google for the implementation of the Online News Act.”
Kent Walker, Alphabet’s President of Global Affairs, highlighted the positive outcome of extensive discussions, stating, “We are pleased that the Government of Canada has committed to addressing our core issues with Bill C-18. We will continue sending valuable traffic to Canadian publishers.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Google will annually contribute C$100 million to news businesses, with the amount indexed to inflation. Additionally, the company has the option to collaborate with a single collective for the distribution of these funds.
Previously, Google had threatened to block news on its search engine, citing concerns that Canada’s law was more stringent than those in Europe and Australia, potentially exposing the company to uncapped liability.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the agreement, stating, “Google has agreed to properly support journalists, including local journalism.” However, he criticized Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) for “completely abdicating any responsibility towards democratic institutions.”
Meta Platforms, the other major internet giant affected by the law, has already blocked news sharing on Facebook and Instagram in Canada, leading to a prolonged feud with large Canadian news publishers and negatively impacting smaller publications.
Heritage Minister St-Onge emphasized that the agreement with Google demonstrates the effectiveness of the new law and called on Meta to explain its decision to block news sharing in Canada. She added that Canada retains the option to revisit the agreement with Google in the future based on developments elsewhere in the world.
While Google recently reached an agreement to pay German publishers for news content, Meta Platforms remains firm in its decision, stating that the only way to comply with the Online News Act is to end news availability for users in Canada.
This landmark agreement reflects a pivotal moment in the ongoing global dialogue about fair compensation for news content and the evolving relationship between tech giants and traditional media outlets. #Google #OnlineNewsAct #MediaIndustry #TechRegulation #CanadaNews
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