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News media lobby group says Google concerns about Online News Act are valid

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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.

Paul Deegan, head of News Media Canada, says in a statement that the concerns Google publicly outlined last week about the Online News Act are welcome, constructive and legitimate.

He says that 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 addressed, it will remove news links from its search engine by the end of the year.

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.

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