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Canada’s ‘Online News Act’ a big boost to Indian newspapers, digital editions

Our Bureau | | Updated on: May 09, 2022

| Photo Credit: CHARLES PLATIAU

Will help in fight against the monopolist exploitation of news content by Google

A recent Canadian Order on news intermediaries like Google has come as a big boost to Indian newspapers and its digital news editions in their fight against the monopolist exploitation of news content by Google. Prominent Indian newspapers and its digital editions have been representing against the said abuse of its monopoly and position by Google.

According to newspaper sources, Google earns a huge amount of advertisement revenues on the content generated by the digital editions of these newspapers. However, there is no fair pay back or sharing of revenues by Google in this regard, causing huge financial losses to the news publishers in India.

The Canadian Order says that an Online News Act has been created to regulate digital news intermediaries to enhance fairness in the Canadian digital news marketplace. The Act applies to those digital news intermediaries like Google, who have a significant bargaining power imbalance over news businesses. The order envisages provisions of fair compensation to the news businesses for the news that is made available by the intermediary.

The proposed rule will ensure that platforms such as Facebook and Google negotiate commercial deals and pay news publishers fairly for their content. Australia had also passed a ground-breaking law last year. The law will make it mandatory for Google and Facebook to pay original news publishers for content on their platforms.

Top Indian newspapers and its digital editions are represented by Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) in India in a similar fight against Google for fair play in India. The order in Canada has come at a time when CCI has issued notice to Google on the basis of a complaint registered by DNPA at CCI in this regard.

DNPA filed a complaint against Alphabet, Google, Google India Private Limited and Google Ireland Limited (Google/OPs) under Section 19(1)(a) of the Competition Act, 2002 alleging violation of Section 4 of the Act.

The association believes that over 50 per cent of the total traffic on the news websites is routed through Google. Being the dominant player in this field, Google, by way of its algorithms, determines which news website gets discovered via search.

The CCI ordered an inquiry against Google for alleged abuse of dominant position in the digital advertising market on a complaint filed by the DNPA. On January 7, the commission directed the Director General (DG) to cause an investigation into the matter under the provisions of Section 26(1) of the Act.

Published on May 09, 2022
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