Feds strike a deal with Google on Bill C-18, the Online News Act

Google will abide by the regulatory framework of Bill C-18, which demands the tech behemoth pay roughly $100 million to share Canadian news on its platforms. Only government-approved news companies would be privy to that sum — down from $172 million.

Feds strike a deal with Google on Bill C-18, the Online News Act
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby and wolterke - stock.adobe.com
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Google has succumbed to the whims of Heritage Canada by ending their months-long squabble over the Online News Act.

Bill C-18 only applies to digital platforms with 20 million unique monthly users and annual revenues of $1 billion. Only Meta and Google meet those criteria.

As first reported by the CBC, Google will abide by the regulatory framework of Bill C-18, which demands the tech behemoth pay roughly $100 million to share Canadian news on its platforms. 

Only government-approved news companies would be privy to that sum — down from the initial amount of $172 million. Google estimated the value at $100 million.

"It is one more solution to ensure the viability of the media and restore a balance between commercial platforms," said an anonymous source with knowledge of the talks. 

The tech behemoth clarified it would engage with Canadian media organizations head-on rather than have the government impose a mandatory negotiation model upon them.

According to the new regulations, Google can negotiate with a single entity representing all media, limiting the company's arbitration risk. 

"Having taken this first step with Google is important," claimed the source.

The federal government contends it will update the Act’s legislative framework by mid-December to address what Google spokesperson Shay Purdy called "critical structural issues." 

For much of 2023, Google threatened to block Canadians from accessing news content on its platforms upon the feds completing their consultations on the legislative framework.

Since August, Meta has not engaged the government in striking a deal over the Online News Act. They continue to cease access to Canadian news on Facebook and Instagram.

This is a developing story.

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