Canada’s new law to boost desi publishers’ anti-Google, FB case

NEW DELHI: Canada’s Online News Act, a legislation passed this month that compels content aggregators like Google and Facebook to enter into revenue-sharing agreements with news publishers for using their content, is expected to provide a leg-up to the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) in India, which has moved the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against Google for its failure to institute a similar fair payback mechanism.

DNPA, which represents top Indian newspapers and their digital editions, moved the CCI after first writing to the head of Google India in March 2021, demanding a fair distribution of advertising revenues with digital news providers from whom Google draws its news content.

The Association had cited instances of countries like Australia, France and other European nations, which addressed this imbalance in revenue sharing through legislations. DNPA said Google should compensate Indian news publishers in the same way the platform had agreed to pay publishers in France, Australia and the European Union.

The association said over 50% of the total traffic on the news websites is routed through Google and the platform uses its algorithms to determine which news website gets discovered. Additionally, Google, as a major stakeholder in the digital advertising space, unilaterally decides the revenue it shall share with publishers for their original content.

This, the DNPA said, is not only disproportionate and leads to financial losses for digital news publishers, but is also violative of several sections of Competition Act, 2002. In response to the DNPA complaint, the CCI issued notices to Google and ordered an inquiry against the platform for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the digital advertising market.