MPs pass online news bill requiring tech giants to pay for Canadian content

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A Liberal government bill designed to require web giants to compensate journalism outfits for reposting their content has passed a final vote in the House of Commons today.

The House of Commons heritage committee added 18 amendments to the bill, most of them NDP suggestions to add clarity on Indigenous news, eligibility requirements, negotiation timelines and transparency.

Liberal Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has argued the proposed legislation, known as Bill C-18, would make the digital news marketplace more fair by creating a framework and bargaining process for behemoths such as Google and Meta to pay media outlets.

Such companies have roundly criticized the bill as too vague, with Google warning that a provision requiring it to show no “undue” preference to certain outlets could lead to poorer-quality information being presented in search results.

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The vote passed 213 to 114, with Conservatives voting against the bill after arguing that it would give regulators too much leeway to make decisions about what is and isn’t real journalism.

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