By Paul Viera
OTTAWA — Canada said on Tuesday it was introducing legislation requiring major digital platforms, such as Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, to pay national media companies for sharing their content. news.
The Liberal government said the legislation would require digital platforms to enter into “fair trade agreements” with news publishers, which include print, digital and broadcast media. If negotiations fail to reach an agreement, the law provides for both parties to enter into binding arbitration to determine appropriate compensation.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the country’s telecommunications and broadcasting regulator, would be responsible for enforcing it.
Canada promised such legislation last year, following Australia’s implementation of rules effectively requiring Facebook and traditional media companies to pay for content. Pressure from Australia prompted Facebook to remove the information from its platform in the country for a period of five days, but was later restored after the company and Australian officials reached an agreement.
Officials said the legislation was needed because Canadians are turning to digital platforms to access news. Google and Facebook combined account for about 80% of online ad revenue, officials said in a briefing document.
“Canada’s information sector is in crisis,” said Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage, responsible for cultural policy. Platforms “continue to profit from the sharing and distribution of Canadian news content without actually paying for it. We seek to correct this market imbalance.
Rodriguez said Canada’s plan is similar to Australia’s, with some tweaks to account for unique Canadian issues.
Representatives for Meta’s Facebook and Google weren’t immediately available for comment.
Besides Australia, Facebook has also agreed to pay publishers in France for their news content. Google’s Canadian unit announced last year that it had reached financial agreements with 11 Canadian publishers.
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