India plans to make Google, Facebook pay news publishers for using their content

Big digital companies like Google and Facebook may soon have to pay news publishers a price for utilizing their original content. The government has intimated that it is considering acquiring major content-creation companies such as Google, Meta, Microsoft, Apple, Twitter, and Amazon. Pay a percentage of revenue to Indian newspapers and digital news publishers for using their original content. Countries such as Australia, Canada, France, and Spain have already implemented the technique.

The Minister of State for IT and Electronics, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, said the government is currently thinking about revising the IT laws to facilitate the changes. “The market power on digital advertising that is currently being exercised by the Big Tech majors, which places Indian media companies at a position of disadvantage, is an issue that is seriously being examined in the context of new legalisations and rules,”he added.

Chandrashekhar added that the original content creators have not benefitted from the growth of social media and tech platforms in India but fail to share the revenue with the original content creators. “The news publishers have no negotiating leverage at all, and this needs to be tackled legislatively. This is an important issue for us,” he said. Only last year, Chandrasekhar had said that it has no plans to make the big tech companies pay for the local news.

Australia passed a new media law earlier this year that requires big tech companies to pay for local news. Just before the new regulation went into effect, Facebook restricted news articles in Australia due to a disagreement with the government over content payment. Prime Minister Scott Morrison termed Facebook’s decision to prohibit news articles in Australia “arrogant” and “disappointing.”

“The code will ensure that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate, helping to sustain public-interest journalism in Australia,”Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said in a joint statement. They also said that the government was “pleased to see progress by both Google and, more recently, Facebook in reaching commercial arrangements with Australian news media businesses.”

Following a spat with the Australian government, Facebook restricted users from accessing and sharing news on its platform in response to a law requiring the tech corporation to compensate news publishers for utilising their content.

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