Ottawa reaches deal with Google over controversial Online News Act

The federal Liberal government has reached a deal with Google over the Online News Act, following threats from the digital giant that it would remove news from its search platform in Canada.

A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss details publicly, confirmed the contours of the agreement to The Canadian Press. 

Earlier Wednesday, CBC News cited an unnamed source as saying the agreement would allow Canadian news to remain on Google’s platforms in return for the company making annual payments to news companies in the range of $100 million.

A formula in the government’s draft regulations for the bill would have seen Google contributing up to $172 million to news organizations — but Google had said it was expecting a figure closer to $100 million based on a previous estimate. 

Last month, News Media Canada — a lobby group for hundreds of Canadian newspapers and magazines — said it agreed with many of the issues Google had raised, and recommended a cap on how much the company would be required to pay under the law. 

“Google plays an essential role in helping Canadians find trusted news sources, and we are confident there is a path forward for the company and publishers to continue what has been a mutually beneficial relationship for many years to come,” the group’s president and CEO Paul Deegan said at the time.

The legislation, which comes into effect at the end of the year, requires tech giants to enter into agreements with news publishers to pay them for news content that appears on their sites, if that content contributes to revenues.

Google had warned that it would block news from its search engine in Canada over the legislation, as Meta has already done on Instagram and Facebook.

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