A recent Canadian decree on information intermediaries like Google has given Indian newspapers and their digital platforms a big boost in their fight against Google’s monopoly exploitation of their news content. Prominent Indian newspapers and their digital editions have represented against the tech giant’s abuse of its monopoly and position.
Google derives a huge amount of advertising revenue from the content generated by the digital editions of these newspapers. However, there is no fair return on investment or revenue sharing by Google in this regard, resulting in huge financial losses for news publishers in India.
Publishers and governments in many parts of the democratic world are becoming aware of this exploitation by Google and are taking proactive steps to ensure fair play. The judgment in Canada is a step in that direction that resonates in India and many other parts of the world. Google is under scrutiny for anti-competitive practices in Australia, France, Canada and the EU.
Such orders would encourage and empower Indian lawmakers and ICCs to implement fair play and also support the growth of media and real news in India at a time when global search engines can be manipulated to create negative perceptions. on India through fake news as well as inherent bias.
According to the Canadian Ordinance, an Online News Act was created to regulate digital news intermediaries with a view to increasing fairness in the Canadian digital news market. The Act applies to digital news intermediaries and giants like Google that have a significant imbalance of bargaining power over news companies, depending on certain factors, such as whether or not the intermediary has a prominent position. on the market. The order provides fair compensation provisions to news companies for news made available through the intermediary.
The proposed rule would ensure that platforms like Facebook and Google negotiate business deals and pay news publishers fairly for their content. It should be noted that Australia also passed groundbreaking legislation last year. The law would require Google and Facebook to pay original news publishers for content on their platforms.
India’s top newspapers and their digital editions are represented by DNPA in India, in its similar fight against Google for fair play in India. The order in Canada came at a time when the ICC sent a notice to Google based on a complaint filed by the DNPA with the ICC in this regard.
Canada’s “Online News Act” will require digital platforms that exhibit a bargaining imbalance to enter into fair deals with news publishers, which would then be subject to review or assessment by a regulator. and, if such deals do not materialize, the platforms will have to go through final offer arbitration processes overseen by the Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications regulator.
It should be noted that the Indian Competition Commission (ICC) has ordered an investigation against Google for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the digital advertising market on a complaint filed by the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA). DNPA members include Jagran New Media (Dainik Jagaran Group), Amar Ujala, Dainik Bhaskar, India Today, Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, The Times of India, Eenadu, Malayalam Manorama, ABP Network, Zee Media, Mathrabhumi, Hindu, NDTV, Lokmat, Express Network, etc.
In an order dated January 7, the commission ordered the Director General (CEO) to investigate the matter under the provisions of subsection 26(1) of the Act. The Commission also directed the DG to complete the investigation and submit the investigation report within 60 days from the date of receipt of this order.
“The commission is of the prima facie opinion that Google violated the provisions of section 4(2)(a) of the Act, which deserves an investigation. In addition, the informant also alleged that the aforementioned conduct by Google resulted in a violation of the provisions of Section 4(2)(b)(ii) as well as Section 4(2)(c) of the Act. . The DG may also appropriately review these allegations during the investigation,” the ICC said in an order.
DNPA has filed a complaint against Alphabet Inc., Google LLC, Google India Private Limited and Google Ireland Limited (Google/OP) under Section 19(1)(a) of the Competition Act 2002 alleging infringement of section 4 of the Act.
The association estimates that more than 50% of total traffic to news sites is routed through Google and, being the dominant player in this field, Google, through its algorithms, determines which news website is discovered through the research. He further asserted that content produced by news media companies creates the context for the audience to interface with the advertiser; however, online search engines (Google) end up leveraging revenue/returns far more than publishers.
It can be noted that Google is the main player in the digital advertising space and unilaterally decides how much to pay publishers for the content they create, as well as the conditions under which the aforementioned amounts must be paid. Sources said DNPA believes Google has abused its dominant market position and violated various sections of the Competition Act 2002.