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Canada’s Proposed Online News Act Could Make Tech Giants Pay for Media Content

Canada is working on a bill to make tech companies pay local news publishers for content, which is intended as a boon for media companies that have seen online advertising eat up their money, Bloomberg reported Tuesday (April 5).

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said he plans to introduce a bill, the Online News Act, to make sure Alphabet, Meta and other tech giants compensate local news companies using privately negotiated deals.

The report noted this could benefit various companies, such as Canada’s Postmedia Network Canada Corp.

Canada’s law would let news businesses bargain in groups on issues, like how platforms reproduce or facilitate access to news content, according to government officials.

It would also make it so digital platforms have a sizable bargaining imbalance with news businesses to make fair commercial deals, which would be enforced by mandatory bargaining and final offer arbitration.

This follows other such efforts, like one from Australia in 2021 which asked platforms to pay local news platforms. That situation resulted in a multiyear deal between Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Facebook, after Facebook started restricting the sharing of news articles.

U.S. lawmakers have put similar laws in place, and news publishers in Europe have lobbied for something like the Australian laws.

In other news related to laws against Big Tech platforms, PYMNTS wrote that big online platforms could soon face an annual fee of up to 0.1% of yearly net income to cover costs to regulate compliance for European Union rules on policing content.

Read more: Giant Online Platforms Could Face Enforcement Fee Under EU Rules

The Digital Services Act, which includes the fee, is expected to be approved this month.

“The overall amount of the annual supervisory fees shall be based on the estimated costs the Commission incurs in relation to its supervisory tasks under this Regulation,” according to a document seen by Reuters.

The report said that this comes as the commission is looking for revenue for the EU’s economic growth in the wake of the pandemic, aiming to also encourage more digitization.

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