Washington – The Computer & Communications Industry Association filed comments in response to Canada’s consultation regarding proposed regulations for the implementation of the Online News Act. The legislation, passed in June, would force select digital services providers, defined arbitrarily, to pay news businesses for the ability to host any piece of news content including links, snippets, and brief quotes.
CCIA identified several ways the proposed implementing rules would exacerbate a flawed law, including scoping of the companies subject to the law’s obligations and avenues for digital services providers to obtain exemptions—a minimum contribution to news businesses of 4% of global revenue from all sources roughly attributable to the Canadian market. CCIA has raised concerns regarding the policy of mandatory bargaining and “link taxes” and highlighted how the Online News Act could contravene certain provisions of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement.
The following can be attributed to CCIA Vice President for Digital Trade Jonathan McHale:
“A core concern of the Online News Act has been the uncertainty the sweeping liabilities of the legislation would pose to businesses in the market. The proposed regulations put forward by Canadian Heritage fail to place reasonable limits on these liabilities and could even exacerbate them.
“The fundamental flaws of the legislation remain unchanged — the core of the internet is the free flow of information which is inextricably connected to the right to link and quote. Upending this ecosystem to benefit large media conglomerates would not promote sustainable journalism and would likely disproportionately harm the smallest outlets in Canada.”