The problems with government’s Bill C-18 draft regulations involve more than just what amounts to a 4% link tax on Google and Meta alongside little effort to ensure the resulting revenues are used to support spending on journalists and news content. As noted in previous posts, the draft regulations put an end to the claim that the Online News Act involves compensation for news creation since the standards are now simply a function of Internet platform revenues, not news production costs. Given the global implications of a 4% tax on revenues to support media, that approach likely further cements Meta’s decision to comply with the law by stopping news links and increases the chances that Google follows suit.
But the concerns with the draft regulations do not end there. Indeed, the regulations revive the frustration of many smaller, independent and digital-first news outlets who feared that Bill C-18 would harm them competitively by receiving less support relative to larger companies such as Bell, Rogers, the CBC, and Postmedia or be excluded altogether.