The law was passed by Canada's legislature in June and is set to be enforced, once regulations are finalized, starting from December 19. In a submission to the Canadian government, which was made public on Friday, Google, owned by Alphabet, expressed its dissatisfaction with the proposed regulations released last month, stating that they fail to address its concerns.
In its submission to the Canadian government, Google wrote, "We continue to have serious concerns that the core issues ultimately may not be solvable through regulation and that legislative changes may be necessary."
Google's requested changes cover a range of issues including determining which media outlets qualify for compensation, copyright limitations, and the process for digital platforms to obtain exemptions from the law.
Canada's Online News Act: Google's Concerns
Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) have raised concerns about Canada's Online News Act, stating that it is based on a flawed premise and creates an unworkable framework. The legislation, intended to regulate digital platforms and their links to web pages, is said to expose these companies to uncertain financial liability. This goes against copyright legislation and challenges the concept of an open internet.
One of the key issues is the calculation of annual payments that digital platforms would have to make. According to estimates released by Canada, the total for 2023 is set at $170 million. Google would be responsible for approximately 75% of this amount, equivalent to 4% of its total revenue from Canada. However, Google argues that this percentage is arbitrary and does not accurately reflect the commercial value of news-related links.
Pascale St-Onge, Canada's minister in charge of media policy, has acknowledged that Google has submitted its comments on the proposed regulations. Final rules are expected to be announced soon. St-Onge emphasized the importance of finding a balance that supports newsrooms while ensuring participation from web users.