Canada news industry body backs Google’s concerns about online news law


A Canadian news industry body on Thursday lent support to some of Google’s concerns about a new law that aims to make large internet companies share advertising revenue with news publishers in the country.

Alphabet’s Google has made a “good faith articulation of legitimate concerns” that the Canadian government should address while finalizing rules to implement the law, said News Media Canada (NMC), which represents Canada’s top newspapers, including the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star.

“We are in agreement with many of the issues they have raised,” NMC Chief Executive Officer Paul Deegan said in a statement first reported by the Globe.

The Online News Act, part of a global trend to make internet giants pay for news, passed the Canadian parliament in June and the government is finalizing rules that are expected to be released by a Dec. 19 deadline.

Canada tried addressing tech companies’ concerns about the law in draft rules released in September, but Google and Meta Platforms META.O were not convinced.

Google has raised concerns about the law establishing links to news stories as the basis of payment and said the proposed regulations did not address problems like imposing potentially uncapped liability on the company and limits on how it can support the news industry.

“We are aligned that there should be a firm ceiling, rather than a floor on financial liability,” Deegan said in the statement.

NMC also agrees with Google that eligible news publishers must have an online presence and that non-monetary measures such as training and product can be part of the remuneration, Deegan said.

“We will continue to engage those with questions or concerns, including tech giants,” Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge said in a statement, adding that Ottawa will be reviewing submissions received during public consultation for the draft rules.

Google, in its submission during the consultation, said: “While the government has publicly indicated its confidence that our concerns can be resolved through the regulatory process, unfortunately the draft regulations fail to sufficiently address the critical structural problems with the Act.”

“By establishing linking to news sites as the basis for payment, the Act fails to recognize that the public’s ability to freely find and share links to news content online is critical to free expression, access to information, press freedom, and an informed citizenry,” the company said in an 11-page document made public last week.

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