What would Canada’s Online News Act do?

A new article published this week by the International News Media Association recaps, and provides fresh insight, on the hectic past few months of activity being undertaken to ensure that news publishers are compensated for their content by Tech Giants.

As the article highlights, the Online News Act strives to accomplish several key policy changes to help news publishers. The legislation, for example:

  • Proposes a regime to regulate digital platforms that act as intermediaries in Canada’s news media ecosystem to enhance fairness in the Canadian digital news market.
  • Introduces a new bargaining framework intended to support news businesses to secure fair compensation when their news content is made available by dominant digital news intermediaries and generates economic gain.
  • Seeks to support balanced negotiations between the businesses that operate dominant digital news intermediaries and the businesses responsible for the news outlets that produce this news content.
  • If one party initiates it, a final offer arbitration process would be used as a last resort to address scenarios in which negotiated agreements are not reached.

Without a doubt, tech companies, such as Google and Meta, are not pleased with the legislation. Facebook told a parliamentary committee this past spring that it has not ruled out blocking news in Canada. The article recaps Google’s opposition and the strategic tactics and lobbying efforts they have employed to undercut the bill from passing.

Said Paul Deegan, president and CEO of News Media Canada: “Publishers throughout the Americas see Canada as a forward-looking democracy and they are excited by this legislation that builds on the Australian model.”

“Across party lines, Canadian parliamentarians support the principles behind the Australian-style legislation. We are confident they will pass good, balanced made-in-Canada legislation that ensures that more Canadian publishers, including smaller ones, can negotiate fair content licensing agreements, while preserving an open Internet. We hope this will happen by year end.”