Google has ended a long-running stand-off with the Canadian government as it agreed to pay news publishers C$100 million (AU$111 million) every year.
The Canadian government had been seeking to introduce its own version of Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code that mandated large tech platforms including Meta, and potentially TikTok and YouTube, paid news publishers for using their content online.
The Canadian alternative was due to come into force in a number of weeks. Under the deal, Google will pay publishers, including independent outlets, Indigenous media and multilingual media, a yearly fee. Google had threatened to prohibit access to news on its platforms in order to prevent the law from passing.
The funds would be distributed based on the number of workers each qualifying news outlet employs, government officials said.
“This is a historic development,” said Pascale St-Onge, Canada’s heritage minister, whose agency helps oversee technology regulation.
“It will establish a fairer commercial relationship between digital platforms and journalism in Canada,” she said, adding that the new revenue is “good for the news sector”.
“Following extensive discussions, we are pleased that the government of Canada has committed to addressing our core issues,” Kent Walker, president of global affairs for Google and Alphabet, said in a statement.
Meta, however, is still in talks with the government. In August, Meta started to close access to news on its platforms in Canada in protest to the rules.
Canada’s national broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said it was “very pleased” with the deal and was encouraging for news businesses.
Canada’s proposed law is very similar to the News Media Bargaining Code introduced in 2021. Meta has called the Code an “untidy, short-term compromise”. However, it has proven popular with large publishers (unsurprisingly), with Nine’s Mike Sneesby saying that he wanted to see the Code “expanding” to cover “not just text and images, but also audio, video, and any form of intellectual property that we create”.
However, Canada’s law sees the tech companies negotiating with the government which then distributes the funds, rather than negotiating with the publishers.
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