Canada Wants Tech Giants To Pay For News
Tech giants such as Google and Facebook may have played a significant and positive role in making news more readily and widely accessible, but this doesn’t mean publishers should not be compensated for their work. News isn’t free and never has been, said Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, who has pledged that this will be the year the world’s leading technology giants will be made to pay for the news content they use across their platforms.
Guilbeault’s promise comes at a time more than a hundred daily and community newspapers across Canada are publishing newspapers showing blank front pages in a motion to emphasise the critical need for media houses and news publishers to be compensated for the work they do. The campaign is being driven by publishers representative News Media Canada, and in response to the reality that news media companies are having to shutter their doors, and journalists are losing their jobs, because their news content is being distributed free by internet giants like Facebook and Google.
Striking The Correct Balance
News reporting that is accurate and free of the influence of fake news serves Canada’s democracy and the well-being of local communities, said Guilbeault in a statement released Thursday past. It is for this reason that the imbalance between the agencies that do the work, and those that benefit from that work, should be properly addressed.
The minister also added that the Canadian government is closely watching other countries and how those countries are handling the issue, and in particular Australia and France. Australia, for one, appears to have stumbled across the correct solution, being that of mandatory adjudication in the event that tech giants and content distributors fail to negotiate acceptable payment agreements with news publishers and agencies regarding how much they should be paid for their work.
Australia Leads The Way
Australia’s government late last year presented before parliament ground-breaking legislation that aims to force Facebook and Google to negotiate fair and proper payment with news agencies for using their content across Google’s search results and Facebook’s newsfeed and blurbs.
Australian newspapers argue that users would find both platforms much less appealing and helpful in the event that no news content whatsoever were to appear in their feeds or Google search results. Facebook, in the meantime, responded to the tabling of the new code by threatening to block Australians from sharing news. Google added its voice to the protest by running a campaign against the proposed legislation arguing it to be unfair.
A recent survey showed three in every five Australians agreed that big tech companies like Facebook and Google should be regulated by government.