“Government wants Big Tech to pay news outlets for content”

(This story originally appeared in July 16, 2022)

The government is striving to big technology majors Google (which also owns YouTube), Meta (owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp), Microsoft, AppleTwitter and Amazon pay Indian newspapers and digital news publishers a revenue share for the use of their original content, in line with the position already taken in Australia and to some extent in the European Union.

Minister of State for Information Technology and Electronics Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the move is being discussed through regulatory intervention that could come as part of a review of existing IT laws.

“The power in the digital advertising market currently exercised by large technology companies, which puts Indian media companies at a disadvantage, is an issue that is being seriously examined in the context of new legalizations and regulations,” Chandrasekhar told TOI. , perhaps the first official announcement by the Indian government of plans to force the world’s Internet giants to pay for the use of news/information produced by independent news and publishing agencies.

Global digital and social media platforms have benefited enormously from the rapid spread of the Internet and smartphones, and have managed to generate advertising revenue as well as views (both print and video). Newspapers and digital news publishers say this growth has been driven, among other things, by original content created and paid for by them.

The government believes that the rise of social media and tech platforms has led to a “consolidation of market power” with only a handful of big tech companies, leaving many original content creators at a disadvantage. “News publishers have no negotiating leverage at all, and this needs to be decided at the legislative level. This is an important issue for us,” said Chandrasekhar.

In India, the issue was raised by the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) and the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), which took the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to oversee fair play against Google, accusing the company of abusing its dominant position in the news. aggregation to impose unfair conditions on news publishers.

As the CCI ordered an investigation against Google over the allegations, INS said in its complaint that it “highlighted the fact that the producer/publisher of news that is available in digital format is not getting fair value for their content. despite the fact that they have invested heavily in creating relevant content for clients who search for news using the Google platform.”

An Indian newspaper and digital publishers reported that several countries, including Australia, France and Spain, have passed laws requiring technology companies, including Google, to adequately compensate content producers for the use of their content and search results.