Google raises ‘serious’ concerns about bill forcing to pay for news – National

Google is raising “serious” concerns about a Generous The bill seeks to require tech giants to pay media outlets in exchange for putting their news content online.

Invoice C-18which the government introduced in the spring, would create a framework under which “digital news intermediaries” or large online platforms, must negotiate deals with news media eligible.

News organizations have largely praised the bill, which is similar to one passed in Australia last year, although some have raised concerns about the criteria used to determine which outlets are eligible. .

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Colin McKay, Google Canada’s head of public policy and government relations, told a House of Representatives committee on Tuesday that the bill currently being written could inadvertently promote disinformation and disinformation.

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McKay said a provision in the bill that would prevent platforms from giving “excessive preference” to certain news outlets would prevent Google from promoting “reliable sources” over lower-quality content. .

In other countries, such as Germany, “bad guys” have “gambled and misused” similar terms, he said, adding that the company plans to propose specific amendments to Committee.

McKay also argued that the bill’s structure is intended to benefit larger organizations over smaller ones and could encourage clickbait production, saying that Google understands that the number of links appearing on the tool Their search will affect the compensation for the news outlet.

He emphasized that the company shares the goal of the law to support “a sustainable future for journalism and news” in Canada.

“We are here because we want to engage in a thorough conversation about the details of this legislation so that it can be continued and implemented in a way that achieves public policy goals,” he said. .

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Other witnesses representing news organizations told the committee the bill was an important step that could level the playing field online.

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They point to Australian law and argue that the legal requirement for online companies to pay for journalism is long overdue.

“This is real money for real journalism,” said Ben Scott, director of Reset Media. “Laws like this will be implemented around the world and Canada, in my view, has the opportunity to lead and set a high standard that will be provided to the Canadian public.”

One of the key points for representatives of smaller outlets is the bill’s provision that media outlets are only eligible to negotiate deals if they have at least two full-time journalists. staffing time.

“This puts us in a bit of a dilemma,” said Dennis Merrell, executive director of the Alberta Weekly Press Association, because something like half of his members wouldn’t be able to. benefit.

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But Kevin Desjardins, president of the Association of Canadian Broadcasters, suggests that the measure sets a “low threshold” and could encourage hiring more journalists.

The bill contains a provision that would exempt tech giants if they already have dealings with news businesses that meet certain criteria, including editorial independence.

McKay said Google has entered into 150 agreements with Canadian publishers, 90% of which are “small scale, local or regional”.

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The bill would also increase oversight by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, allowing it to hear complaints from news businesses alleging that they are unjustly marginalized by platforms. online.

The regulator will be allowed to impose administrative fines for any violations of the new law and will have to hire an independent auditor to prepare an annual report on the impact of these measures on “ Canadian digital news market”.

& copy 2022 Canadian Press


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