Bill C-18, the Online News Act, is a corporate welfare package for the legacy media industry that would require tech companies to pay big media companies for linking to their content. Following a similar decision by Facebook (now known as Meta), Google announced plans to block all news links in Canada.
The measure is the Canadian equivalent of the much-maligned U.S. Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), which media lobbyists have gone to great pains to enact, even trying to sneak into last year’s defense appropriations package at the last minute.
C-18 aims to do the same thing as the JCPA: compel digital businesses to subsidize the liberal-leaning traditional media. C-18 was approved by Parliament and given the Royal Assent last week, solidifying the dominance of the Liberal Party, led by the Marxist dictator Justin Trudeau.
As a result, Facebook announced it would be disabling all news article links in Canada.
Now Google has started to clarify its own choice, saying as a result of the implementation of Bill C-18, they have informed the Canadian government that it will be forced to remove any links to Canadian news from its search engines in Canada.
They expressed regret that it has reached that stage.
Google emphasized that it supported the creation of an independent fund for Canadian journalism and was not fundamentally opposed to helping the media industry (something the tech giant already does by favoring legacy media and suppressing its competition in search results).
Companies like Google and Facebook are already shelling out billions to “license” material from established media publishers like newspapers and magazines.
Similar to the JCPA, C-18 permits Canadian media organizations to negotiate with technology firms to compensate them for “carrying” (or linking to) the organizations’ material in exchange for financial compensation.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) can order arbitration between the media and the tech business if the two cannot agree.
In the language of the law, the CRTC can deny a news organization the advantages of C-18 if it finds that it does not follow “recognized processes and principles of the journalism profession,” such as being “fair,” “independent,” or “rigorous.”
A cynic would say this law will come down harder on the right than on the left.