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Ottawa and Google reach deal on Online News Act

Google will contribute $100 million to the news industry every year

Ottawa has reached a deal with Google on the Online News Act.

The act (Bill C-18) forces Google and Meta to pay Canadian publishers to share their work on the respective platforms.

Google will contribute $100 million to the news industry annually, Canadian Heritage said in a press release. The tech giant will be allowed to negotiate with a single group to distribute its contributions instead of following a mandatory negotiation model, which was a long-standing issue.

“Following extensive discussions, we are pleased that the Government of Canada has committed to addressing our core issues with Bill C-18, which included the need for a streamlined path to an exemption at a clear commitment threshold,” Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs, said in a blog post.

The agreement comes three weeks before the act goes into effect on December 19th.

Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge notes Google’s contribution could change if the company reaches better agreements with other countries that introduce such legislation, CBC News, which was the first to break the story, notes.

Only Google and Meta meet the requirements to pay news publishers under the Online News Act. The federal government previously noted the act could lead Google to contribute upwards of $172 million a year and Meta $62 million.

Talks with Meta have stalled, and the tech giant started pulling news access on Instagram and Facebook on August 1st. Minister St-Onge says the ball is in Meta’s court.

“This [agreement] shows that this legislation works,” St-Onge told reporters, as CBC News reports. “Now it’s on Facebook to explain why they’re leaving their platform to disinformation and misinformation instead of sustaining our news system.”

Updated November 30th, 9:39am ET: The article has been updated with additional information.

Source: CBC News, Canadian Heritage, Google

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