Apple Should Pay Like Google, Meta in Online News Act: Broadcasters

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The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) is calling on the Liberal government to amend the Online News Act to include Apple alongside Google and Meta.

The act currently mandates Google and Meta to share revenues with news publishers but does not extend the same requirement to other platforms like Apple. “There are other platforms that benefit from the distribution of news content and are negatively impacting news businesses in Canada,” said the CAB, reports The National Post.

Apple offers a free news-aggregator app, Apple News, as well as a paid subscription service, Apple News+. “Such services should be scoped into the framework, rather than excluded up front,” the CAB stated. The comments were part of the government’s ongoing consultation on the draft regulations for implementing the Online News Act.

In response to the act, Meta has already blocked news content on Facebook and Instagram in Canada. Google has indicated it will do the same unless its concerns about the legislation are addressed. “We are open to good and constructive ideas to improve the proposed framework,” said a spokesperson for Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge.

The CAB also recommended that the rules should specifically require Google and Meta to reach revenue-sharing agreements with broadcasters. It suggested a clause ensuring platforms sign deals with major news providers in Canada before being exempt from the legislation. The CAB further proposed that roles like camera operators and sound technicians be counted as journalists for the purpose of the act.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates the bill will generate $320 million in funding, with about $240 million going to broadcasters. Government officials expect Google could contribute $172 million a year and Facebook $62 million if they comply with the legislation. Both tech giants do not appear ready to bend to the federal government’s demands.

Kevin Desjardins, CAB president, clarified that their suggestions aim to ensure that “relevant revenues are not excluded by any cagey corporate accounting.” The organization is a lobby group for private TV and radio broadcasters.

The final version of the regulations is yet to be released, pending the review of hundreds of submissions received by the government.

Google and Meta are both being forced to pay media publishers in the Online News Act, and now possibly Apple. Who’s next? Reddit? Hacker News? X (formerly Twitter)? At what point do you draw the line?

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