A lobby group for Canada's newspapers and magazines says it agrees with many of the issues raised by Google about a law that will force the tech giant to compensate those same publishers for use of their work.
The concerns Google publicly outlined last week about the Online News Act are helpful, said Paul Deegan, head of News Media Canada, in a statement Thursday.
"Google’s submission is a welcome, clear, constructive, good faith articulation of legitimate concerns," he said.
Deegan said News Media Canada, which represents hundreds of publications, agrees with Google that there should be a cap on how much it would have to pay under the law, that compensation could go beyond direct payments to also include things like training and that there need to be incentives to make sure Google and publishers come together to reach deals.
The Online News Act, set to come into effect in December, will force digital giants to negotiate deals with news publishers to compensate them for work that is shared or otherwise repurposed on their platforms.
Google said in its submission to government that the draft regulations for the act did not address its concerns, and that unless they are dealt with, it will remove news links from its search engine by the end of the year.
The company said it interpreted the draft regulations as having no cap on liability.
It also raised issues with the formula for determining how much it needs to contribute, noting that the $172 million per year the government estimated last month is much higher than the $100 million the company had figured based on past guidance.
"This is well in excess of the economic value Google derives from news-seeking queries, and leaves one company single-handedly responsible for defraying an arbitrary and substantial portion of the costs of Canadian publishers," the company wrote. "Neither the amount nor the structure appears workable."
Deegan said news publishers are ready to sit down and work through the details of these issues before the regulations are finalized.
"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.”
Deegan's welcoming of Google's concerns are in contrast to his comments in February, when he accused the company of "bullying" after it carried out a short-lived test that blocked news access to a small percentage of Canadian users.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 12, 2023.