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Google should increase publisher share in ad revenue to 85%: Indian Newspaper Society

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The Indian Newspaper Society has asked Google to compensate Indian newspapers “comprehensively” for their content and to share its advertising revenue, reported the Indian Express. In a letter to Google India country manager Sanjay Gupta, INS president L. Admiloolam said the Google should increase publisher share of advertising revenue to 85%.

Google should pay for the news generated by newspapers, which employ thousands of journalists to gather and verify information, the Society said, arguing that newspaper content, which is generated at considerable expense, is proprietary and has given Google its “authenticity” ever since its inception.

Publishers have been providing complete access to news, current affairs, analysis, information and entertainment, and there is a distinction between such editorial content and fake news spreading on platforms, INS said. It also said that publishers across the world have been raising the issue of fair payment for content and proper sharing of ad revenue with Google; the company has agreed to such deals in France, European Union, and in Australia.

Publishers face a very opaque advertising system; Google should be more transparent in the revenue repots it provides to publishers, Admiloolam said.

Further, Google is taking over a large chunk of advertising revenue, which the backbone of the newspaper industry, the Society said. The pandemic and current digital business model has been “unfair to publishers”, making it unviable for the print media industry, according to the Society. This is the same spin that the Australian legacy media industry and the country’s government put on the News Media Bargaining Code, which forces Google and Facebook to pay media companies for content.

Earlier this week, Australia passed the the News Media Bargaining Code into law, albeit after agreeing to a few amendments in negotiations with Facebook — which had plugged all news content from Australia.

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The Code forces Google and Facebook to enter an arbitration deal with news publishers to decide a price for their news stories. The tech company and the news publisher would put forward numbers, and an arbiter would pick a fair price. A publisher would bring a case against the platform to an arbiter, who would decide how much these links are worth. The Australian government’s justification for the Code has been to resolve the “fundamental power imbalance” between news publishers and tech platforms.

In France, Google agreed in January 2021 to pay for reuse of news snippets, as a result of the application of a neighbouring right under being turned into a national law following the EU copyright law.

Google had tried to evade paying publishers for reuse of news snippets in news aggregation services and search results by no longer displaying them in the country. But in April 2020, the French competition regulatory deemed Google’s removal of snippets as unlawful, and damaging to the media.

Owing to pressures by various regulators asking the search giant to start paying for news, Google has been working on a licensing program to pay publishers “for high quality content”. In December 2020, the company announced that it will start paying select news organisations for access to their paywalled content for its News Showcase program.

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