News Media Canada responds to column about ‘News Publishers’ United Front Against Big Tech has Collapsed’

In his August 7, 2021 column, published under the headline Solidarity For Never: News Publishers’ United Front Against Big Tech Has Collapsed, Andrew Coyne states, “But if publishers should be allowed to bargain collectively, they should also be allowed to bargain separately: there’s a difference, after all, between a union and a closed shop. Whereas the logic of the Postmedia/Unifor/News Media Canada position is that all of the newspapers should be compelled to bargain together – to thwart the platforms’ ‘divide and conquer’ strategy – and that Facebook Google should be compelled to negotiate with them.”

News Media Canada has never said that publishers cannot bargain separately, nor do we believe publishers should be compelled to negotiate collectively.

Mr. Coyne also states, “What publishers were demanding before – what some are still demanding – is to be paid for links, or rather for the government to make FacebookGoogle pay us for links: the headlines, sometimes accompanied by short snippets of text, that are a feature of both platforms.”

News Media Canada has not advocated for being paid for links. We do continue to advocate for being compensated fairly for the use of copyrighted content on these platforms.

In the past few weeks, we have spoken with many publishers, including those who have signed licensing agreements with the platforms. All continue to believe that we urgently need federal legislation that includes collective negotiation – backed up with baseball-style arbitration – and a legislated code of conduct to level the playing field between publishers and platforms.

Jamie Irving, chair, News Media Canada

Paul Deegan, president and CEO, News Media Canada