Post Tagged with: "google"

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Government Court Filing on Bill C-11: “The Act Does Allow For the Regulation of User-Uploaded Programs on Social Media Services”

The public outcry over the Online Streaming Act is largely in the rear view mirror as the law is now at the CRTC facing years of regulatory and court battles. Last week, the Commission issued its first major ruling on mandated payments by Internet streaming services, a decision that, as I’ve written and discussed, is likely to increase consumer costs with limited benefit to the film and television sector. While Bill C-11 may ultimately become associated with the consumer implications and the CRTC’s failure to consider the market effects, for many Canadians the bill is inextricably linked to fears of user content regulation. For the better part of two years, a steady parade of government ministers and MPs insisted that user content regulation was out of the bill even as a plain reading made it clear that it was in. This week Ministry of Justice lawyers provided their take, arguing on behalf of the government in a court filing that “the Act does allow for regulation of user-uploaded programs on social media services.”

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June 13, 2024 7 comments News
Sour grapes in Alemany Farmers' Market by SMcGarnigle, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Sour Grapes: Big Media Lobby Wants to Squash the New Collective Responsible For Administering Google’s $100 Million Online News Act Money

Late last month, I wrote about the behind-the-scenes battle over the selection of a collective to administer and allocate Google’s annual $100 million to news outlets as part of its Bill C-18 deal with the government. I reported that there were two proposals: the Online News Media Collective, a big media consortium led by News Media Canada (NMC), the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), and the CBC, which was pitted against the Canadian Journalism Collective, a proposal spearheaded by a group of independent and digital publishers and broadcasters that promised a more transparent and equitable governance approach. To the surprise of many, last week Google selected the Canadian Journalism Collective.

The importance of who administers the collective is open to some debate since all eligible news outlets get their fair share regardless of which collective is responsible for allocating the money. However, concerns emerged that the big media collective envisioned a governance structure almost completely controlled by its own members, largely shutting out independent outlets and digital publishers and broadcasters. That governance control opened the door to implementing Bill C-18 in a manner that would benefit big media over the independents.

Yesterday members of the big media collective responded to Google’s choice with a request to the CRTC that can only be described as sour grapes.

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June 12, 2024 4 comments News
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The Behind-the-Scenes Bill C-18 Battle: How Newspapers, Big Broadcasters and the CBC Are Trying to Seize Control Over How Google Money is Allocated to Canadian Media

Bill C-18, the Online News Act, is best known for two things: the government’s bad bet that Meta was bluffing when it said it would block news links in response to a system that mandated payments for links (news links have now been blocked for 10 months in Canada) and its attempt to salvage the legislation by striking a deal with Google worth $100 million annually. The Google deal has receded into the background, but the behind the scenes there is an intense battle over who will be selected to administer and allocate the annual $100 million. The outcome – which will be decided by Google by June 17th – will have enormous implications for Canadian media for years to come since it is anticipated that Google and the selected collective will negotiate a five year deal worth $500 million. Sources say that two proposals have emerged: a big media consortium led by News Media Canada (NMC), the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), and the CBC, pitted against a proposal spearheaded by a group of independent and digital publishers and broadcasters that is promising a more transparent and equitable governance approach.

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May 28, 2024 6 comments News
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Skillful Negotiation or Legislative Fail? Taking Stock of the Bill C-18 Deal With Google

Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge’s deal with Google on Bill C-18 for an annual $100 million contribution has sparked some unsurprising crowing from partisans who insist the fears that the government had mishandled the Online News Act failed to recognize a well-executed negotiation strategy. Yet the response from industry supporters of the bill has been noticeably muted: News Media Canada did not issue a press release with CEO Paul Deegan noting that the impact would depend on the forthcoming regulations, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters said it was relieved there was a deal and that links would not be blocked, Quebec broadcasters are already calling for more support, and Friends of Canadian Broadcasting said the deal did not deliver the support it originally hoped for. These comments come closer to reflecting the reality of the deal, namely that the government misread the market, passed deeply flawed legislation, and was ultimately forced to row back core elements of the law and accept payments consistent with what was on the table over a year ago.

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November 30, 2023 28 comments News
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Salvaging Bill C-18: Government Upends Legislation To Bring Google Onside the Online News Act

The government has announced that it has reached agreement with Google on deal that will ensure that news links are not blocked on the search engine and that the company pays $100 million to support the news sector in Canada. To be clear, this is good news for all given that the alternative was bad for news outlets, the government, Canadians, and Google. Indeed, over the past few months in discussions with representatives of media outlets, the consistent refrain I heard was that there *had* to be a deal. The harm from Facebook and Instagram blocking news links was taking a significant toll with lost revenues, lost traffic, and lost deals, meaning that something had to be salvaged from Bill C-18.

It turns out the way to salvage the bill was essentially to start over by tossing aside most of the core elements in the bill in favour of a single payment by Google negotiated by the government on behalf of the news sector. What is left is a $100 million payment into what amounts to a fund to be managed by the news sector itself. Google has agreed to pay $100 million to a single collective (there will be a battle over which collective will represent the news sector) and the collective tasked with allocating the money based in large measure on forthcoming regulations.

The broadcast sector will remain the big winner, though speculation of the possible removal of the CBC from the system would increase the distributions to the remaining companies. Regardless, allocating the majority of the money to broadcasters presumably helps explain why the government announced a $129 million bailout that expands the available money in the labour journalism tax credit, for which only print and digital publications (known as Qualified Canadian Journalism Organizations) are eligible.

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November 29, 2023 12 comments News