Canada’s Bill C-18, or the Online News Act, requires digital giants like Google and Meta to compensate Canada’s government media company for sharing Canadian News.
What’s Going On With Canadian News?
The bill will go into effect on Dec. 19, ahead of a public consultation process that will get underway this fall, the Act will only apply to digital platforms providing news content with total global revenue of more than $1 billion a year, with 20 million or more Canadian average monthly unique visitors or active users.
Here is the summary of the Act:
Canada Charges Internet To Post Canadian Articles
The Canadian government has unveiled the draft regulations for Bill C-18, raising the stakes for tech giants Alphabet and Meta Platform.
The core of this regulatory framework is establishing a 4% revenue floor for linking to news content, a move that could have global implications, potentially costing Google billions of dollars.
“A contribution rate of 4% would yield compensation figures broadly consistent with the outcomes from the Australian Bargaining Code, which is the model for the Online News Act,” state the draft regulations.
“No country in the world has come close to setting this standard and the question the Internet companies will face is whether they are comfortable with the global liability that would see many other countries making similar demands,” Canada Research Chair Michael Geist wrote on his blog.
In response to a new Canadian law requiring payments to news organizations, Google said it will remove links to Canadian news sources from Google Search and Google News for users who access the services in Canada. Google’s announcement followed a similar announcement by Meta that it will end news access on Facebook and Instagram.
The Link Tax is a dangerous proposal that would require platforms (like Facebook or Google) pay news outlets every time they display a link to a news article – including when those links are shared directly by their users.
“Make big tech pay” appeals to many people, but this particular proposal fundamentally breaks the Internet works for us, undermining both the way that hyperlinks are used online, and the way we value and share quality content.
Interesting Money Trail
The CBC stands to receive the largest share of the $172 million the federal Online News Act is forecast to pump into Canada’s news sector, experts say, raising fears that the new legislation will make it harder for smaller news outlets to compete with the state-funded broadcaster.
The CBC is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a government-owned company that is run by the Crown corporation, was established in 1936 and employs over 7,000 people.
Peter Menzies, who from 2013 to 2017 was vice-chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Commission, the federal institution that will oversee the Online News Act, has analyzed the regulations. He said the CBC, as the biggest employer of journalists in Canada, would likely receive the largest amount of money from the bill.
The extra funding, he said, would “reinforce the status quo” and the CBC’s dominant position. He added that it would allow the broadcaster to hire more journalists and receive even more C-18 money in the future.
He said this would make competing even more difficult for local media organizations.
“I’m a big fan of having a public broadcaster, but not a large commercial competitor eating everybody else’s lunch,” he said.
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