California Goes Full Trudeau: Lawmakers Want Tech Giants to Pay News Outlets for Their Content

Lawmakers in California are taking note of the Liberal government’s new revenue-sharing bill that will force major tech giants to share profits with news publishers.

Oakland lawmaker Buffy Wicks is proposing a bill that would require technology companies such as Google and Facebook to pay news publishers for sharing content on their platforms. This move follows Ottawa’s Online News Act which aims to force social media companies to enter into private deals with news organizations and pay them for sharing content. Supporters of the bill argue that news publishers deserve compensation for the content they produce, and create fairness by prompting a bargaining process for tech conglomerates.

If the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act is passed, news publishers can negotiate with tech companies for fair compensation for their content, but content publishers will be forced to allocate 70% of the proceeds towards journalism jobs. Australia also enacted similar legislation, prompting Meta to temporarily suspend access to Facebook in the ‘land down under’ in protest. Ultimately, the social media site entered into agreements with several Australian news agencies.

Meanwhile, Trudeau’s proposed bill has faced significant opposition from tech companies themselves, who argue that news publishers benefit from the traffic generated by their platforms. “A legislative framework that compels us to pay for links or content that we do not post, and which are not the reason the vast majority of people use our platforms, is neither sustainable nor workable,” a Meta spokesperson told Reuters in light of the social media company’s threat to block news content should the legislation pass.

Nonetheless, Wicks’ bill has garnered significant support in California in response to a broader discontent with big tech, and it remains to be seen whether it will be passed into law. If successful, it could pave the way for similar legislation in other states and countries, and could have a major impact on the future of the media industry.

“Big Tech has become the de facto gatekeeper of journalism and is using its dominance to set rules for how news content is displayed, prioritized and monetized,” explained California News Publishers Association head Emily Charrier. “Our members are the sources of that journalism, and they deserve to be paid fair market value for news they originate.”

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