Google Seeks Eight Changes to Canada's Online News Law
By Paul Vieira
OTTAWA--Google told Canada it requires eight changes to the law
that would compel digital platforms to compensate media outlets,
otherwise it would follow through on its threat to remove links to
news articles on its search function for Canadian users.
Canada's legislature passed the law in June, and once
regulations are finalized authorities would start enforcing
provisions on Dec. 19. In a submission to the Canadian government,
made public Friday, Google -- owned by Alphabet -- said the
proposed regulations released last month fail to address its
According to Google, it is prepared to remove links to news
articles on its search function for Canadian users, starting around
Dec. 19. Google warned in late June of this potential move. Meta
Platforms is already blocking news links for Canadian users of
Facebook and Instagram rather than be subject to the law.
"We continue to have serious concerns that the core issues
ultimately may not be solvable through regulation and that
legislative changes may be necessary," Google said in a submission
to the Canadian government.
The changes Google seeks covers issues such as which media
outlets qualify for compensation, copyright limitations, and how
digital platforms can obtain exemptions to the law.
Canada's law, called the Online News Act, "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
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.
The regulations Canada released include a formula used to
calculate how much the digital platforms would pay annually. Canada
estimated the total for 2023 at $170 million, with Google on the
hook for roughly three-quarters of the amount, or 4% of its total
revenue from Canada.
According to Google, only 2% of all search queries in Canada
seek news stories.
"The 4% appears to be an arbitrary figure that overstates the
commercial value of news-related links," it said in its
Canada's minister in charge of media policy, Pascale St-Onge,
said this week that Google did submit its comments on the proposed
regulations, and final rules would be coming shortly.
"I have always said it, my door is open, and my goal is to find
the right balance and then ensure that people on the web
participate in supporting our news rooms," she told reporters this
Write to Paul Vieira at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 06, 2023 16:01 ET (20:01 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2023 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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