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Canada to Require Tech Giants to Compensate News Publishers

News Media Canada, a publishers’ group, welcomed the bill.

“Real news reported by real journalists costs real money,” Jamie Irving, the group’s chairman, said in a statement. “This legislation levels the playing field and gives Canada’s news publishers a fair shot and doesn’t require additional taxpayer funds.”

Rachel Curran, a public policy manager at Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said in an email that the company was “reviewing the proposed legislation in detail” and said they “look forward to engaging with stakeholders once we more fully understand what the bill entails.”

Google did not respond to a request for comment, and Twitter declined to comment.

The new law would exclude YouTube, another branch of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, from the compensation plan. Government officials told reporters that YouTube falls under the country’s broadcasting laws. The law also does not apply to services like Apple News that already license articles from publishers, or personal messaging systems like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

The exact form Canada’s system will take, and how much money will be funneled into the news media, will be determined largely through negotiations between tech companies and publishers, as well as through decisions by regulators, particularly on which companies will receive subsidies.

Publishers will be able to band together to negotiate collective deals with the tech companies. They will also be able to continue with the private and voluntary arrangements with tech companies, like the ones Meta reached last fall with 18 Canadian publishers.

If talks fail, a binding arbitration process will determine the compensation.

While Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals do not control a majority of votes in the House of Commons, the bill is expected to pass because of his recent alliance with the New Democratic Party, which has long pressed for tech companies to pay for the use of news.

The bill is the latest in a series of moves by Mr. Trudeau’s government to support the newspaper industry. It previously set aside 595 million Canadian dollars to subsidize journalists’ wages and another 50 million Canadian dollars for local journalism programs. Because of the pandemic, publishers received millions of dollars in government emergency relief, a program that was available to all businesses. Magazines and small newspapers were also given additional industry-specific Covid relief funding.

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