Google strikes $100 million deal with Canadian government, resolving dispute over Online News Act.
Google has agreed to pay Canadian news publishers for their content, ending a months-long standoff over the Online News Act, a new law that requires tech giants to compensate media outlets for the use of their news.
The deal, announced on Thursday by Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, will see Google pay $100 million a year to a fund that will distribute the money among Canadian news organizations, based on criteria such as originality, diversity and public interest.
The agreement also includes commitments from Google to support innovation and sustainability in the Canadian news sector, such as providing training, tools and data to help publishers grow their digital audiences and revenues.
Rodriguez hailed the deal as a “historic” achievement that will ensure a “fair and balanced” digital news market in Canada.
“Today, we are sending a clear message to the world that Canada stands up for its news media and its democracy,” he said at a press conference in Ottawa.
Google, which had previously threatened to remove Canadian news links from its platforms in response to the law, said it was pleased to have reached a “constructive” solution with the government.
“We believe this agreement strikes the right balance between supporting Canadian news publishers and protecting the open web that Canadians rely on every day,” said Kent Walker, the president of global affairs at Google and Alphabet.
The deal comes after Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, also agreed to pay Canadian news publishers last week, following a similar dispute over the Online News Act.
The law, which was passed by Parliament in June and will come into force in six months, aims to address the imbalance of power and revenue between tech platforms and news media, which have seen their advertising revenues decline as more people consume news online.
The law requires online platforms that reproduce or facilitate access to news content to either negotiate deals with news providers or go through a binding arbitration process led by an independent regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
The government and some media associations have argued that the law will help provide fair compensation to struggling news outlets and support the quality and diversity of journalism in Canada.
However, some critics have questioned the effectiveness and fairness of the law, saying it will benefit only a few large media corporations and stifle innovation and competition in the news sector.
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