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Google To Pay $100 Million To News Publishers, Deal Inked With Federal Government

In contrast, Meta complied by blocking all news content from Canadian users of its major platforms, Instagram and Facebook.

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Tech giant Google and the federal government have resolved their conflict regarding the Online News Act, resulting in an agreement. Under this agreement, Google will persist in featuring Canadian news on its online platform, and, in exchange, the company will make annual payments to news organizations amounting to approximately $100 million.

The Liberals’ announcement on Wednesday indicates a concession to the tech giant’s demands, following Google’s threat in February to remove news from its platform.

The Online News Act mandates tech giants to establish compensation agreements with news publishers for content appearing on Google sites that contribute to the company’s revenues.

A formula in the government’s draft regulations proposed Google contribute up to $172 million to news organizations. Google objected, stating it anticipated a figure closer to $100 million, based on what it claimed was a prior estimate from Canadian Heritage officials.

After prolonged negotiations, it seems that the company has achieved its desired outcome.

Despite this, Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge labeled it a “historic development,” asserting that the agreement was ultimately a victory for the government and local news publishers it aims to support.

“We have found a path forward to answer Google’s questions about the process and the act. Google wanted certainty about the amount of compensation it would have to pay to Canadian news outlets,” she stated on Parliament Hill.

“Canada reserves the right to reopen our regulations if there are better agreements struck elsewhere in the world,” she added.

Google’s president of global affairs, Kent Walker, expressed gratitude to the minister for acknowledging their concerns and engaging in productive meetings addressing the company’s core issues with the bill.

While complying with the legislation, Google will pay into a single collective bargaining group serving as a media fund.

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In contrast, Meta complied by blocking all news content from Canadian users of its major platforms, Instagram and Facebook.

Last month, News Media Canada, a lobby group for numerous Canadian newspapers and magazines, expressed agreement with many of the concerns raised by Google during discussions about how the bill would be implemented.

The group advocated for a cap on the amount Google would be required to pay under the law.

In addition to its financial contribution, Canadian Heritage stated that Google will continue offering programs for Canadian news businesses, including training, tools, resources for business development, and support for non-profit journalism projects.

Google mentioned that the deal would bring immediate changes to existing agreements with publishers in Canada under its Google News Showcase agreements, part of a $1-billion global investment.

The company indicated it would review its ongoing investments in Canada upon the publication of final regulations.

Google refrained from disclosing the amount it is already paying publishers under existing contracts, citing confidentiality of such commercial arrangements.

Companies falling under the Online News Act must have total global revenue exceeding $1 billion in a calendar year, operate in a search engine or social media market distributing and providing access to news content in Canada, and have 20 million or more Canadian average monthly unique visitors or average monthly active users.

Currently, Google and Meta are the only companies meeting these criteria.

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