Google and the Canadian federal government have reportedly come to an agreement in their dispute over the Online News Act. The resolution entails the continuation of Canadian news sharing on Google’s platforms, coupled with an annual payment commitment of approximately $100 million from the tech giant to news companies, according to an insider familiar with the negotiations.
The regulatory framework, which was agreed upon earlier this week, signifies a simplified negotiation process. Google had expressed concerns about the “critical structural issues” with the Online News Act, also known as Bill C-18.
In response to these concerns, the government has opted for a single negotiation model, allowing Google to engage with a unified group representing all media outlets. This move is expected to mitigate arbitration risks for the company.
The federal government had initially estimated Google’s compensation at around $172 million, while Google assessed the value at $100 million. Despite Google’s threat to block Canadian news content on its platforms, the company has not taken such action, unlike Meta, which ceased distributing Canadian news on Facebook and Instagram after failed talks with the government.
Agreement reached with Google
The agreement reached with Google is seen as a positive step by the government to ensure the viability of the media and restore balance in the relationship with commercial platforms.
Although Google’s annual payment falls short of the government’s initial estimate, the government source emphasizes that the deal constitutes a victory for Canadian media. The single negotiation framework is expected to set a precedent for other countries facing similar challenges with tech giants.
Bill C-18, also known as the Online News Act, applies to digital platforms with at least 20 million unique monthly users and annual revenues of $1 billion. Currently, only Meta and Google meet these criteria. While talks with Meta have not resumed, the government aims to finalize the legislative framework, incorporating the new regulations, by mid-December.
The framework requires Google to negotiate with media outlets and sign agreements, with the possibility of additional service contributions yet to be specified.