Published on Nov 30, 2023 at 4:53 p.m.
After months of tense negotiations the Government of Canada and Google have reached an agreement for the Californian giant to pay compensation to the country’s press companies in exchange for the possibility of relaying information content on its platforms.
The agreement reached between the two parties will see Google redistribute to Canadian media approximately 100 million Canadian dollars (67 million euros) annually, while the government of Justin Trudeau wanted to obtain 172 million, according to certain sources. The agreement, made official on Wednesday by Minister Pascale St-Onge, will however be indexed to inflation and could be renegotiated if agreements concluded in other countries prove more favorable.
Ottawa is in a standoff with Google and Meta over its new “online news law”, which should force the digital giants to conclude commercial agreements with the media for the distribution of their content on the platforms of the two Californian giants.
His law, known as C-18, is due to come into force on December 19, but Meta and Google were opposed to it.
At the beginning of October, Google mentioned a possible blocking of information sites on its search engine if Canadian law was not amended.
The Californian giant had urged the Canadian government to make “necessary” legislative changes to this measure, citing an “inapplicable” media agreement process.
The agreement provides for Google to negotiate with a single group that would represent all media, which would allow it to limit arbitration risks, according to CBC/Radio Canada.
Future of the industry
For its part, Meta – owner of Facebook and Instagram – blocks access to news media content in Canada on its platforms since August 1, even before the law came into force.
“I think it’s a good thing,” Brent Jolly, president of the Canadian ociation of Journalists, told AFP, adding that he would have been “worried about the future of the industry” if Google had chose to block media content from its search engine.
This legislation was introduced by the federal government to curb the erosion of press revenues in Canada for the benefit of digital giants, to whom advertising revenues have migrated in recent years.
The Internet giants believe that they do not have to pay for information, arguing that they send traffic to press sites and that their users are not particularly interested in “news”. But in many countries, including France, the media, often supported by public authorities, seek to obtain compensation for their investments in information, which fuels all conversations and therefore traffic on the Web to the greatest benefit of the Web portals.
NM (with AFP)