CCIA Slams Canadian Online News-Compensation Bill

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(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), which was favorably reported to the full Senate for a vote this week, isn’t the only online-targeted news content bill that computer companies are worried about.

According to the Computer & Communications Association (CCIA), the Canadian House of Commons’ Heritage Committee is meeting today (Sept. 23) to discuss a bill, the “Online News Act,” which would require search engines and social-media platforms to pay content providers if they want to index or link to their news content, or even quote from it.

According to CCIA, the bill would even require social-media sites to pay if a broadcaster set up their own page on the platform, like a Facebook page, to attract subs to their content.

Also: Senate Judiciary Approves Online News Antitrust Bill

CCIA, whose members include Facebook, Google and Twitter, said that like the JCPA, which creates an antitrust exemption for broadcasters, newspapers and other news content providers to jointly negotiate payment from Big Tech, the Canadian bill would “damage” the internet ecosystem and “exacerbate” news media concentration.

They also said the Canadian bill would likely land hardest on U.S. firms such as Twitter, Google and Facebook.

“Facilitating the discovery and sharing of information has always been at the heart of the Internet, a source of vast benefits to consumers around the globe,” CCIA VP for digital trade Jonathan McHale said. “The Online News Act threatens that core function, however, by creating a government-mandated paywall for the spreading of quotes, headlines, and even links.

“Internet platforms have a strong record of working with news outlets to develop innovative and mutually beneficial products to promote their digital offerings,” McHale added. “Targeting a select few U.S. firms, however, to force payments to Canadian news businesses, would not only constitute an unwarranted and discriminatory subsidy, but worsen competition in the media market by entrenching Canadian media conglomerates.” ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.