Indian publishers see victory when Canada orders electronic platforms to pay for news

A recent Canadian order obliging platforms such as Google paying publishers reinforces the reasons for Indian newspapers and their digital news publications that have made a similar demand, experts say.

Google has also signed deals to pay more than 300 publishers in Germany, France and four other EU countries for their news and will launch a tool to make it easier for others to sign up, according to a Reuters report.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has already ordered an investigation against the search giant for abusing its position among news publishers after the Indian Newspaper Society and Association of Digital News Publishers (DNPA) alleged abuse of dominant position. The association believes that more than 50% of total traffic on news sites is routed through Google and that the search giant, with its algorithms, determines which news site is discovered via search.

Canada’s April 5 ordinance follows the one previously delivered in Australia, and experts said these initiatives in other countries like France and Spain will also encourage Indian lawmakers and the ICC to implement fair play.

“Canadian legislation could have implications here in India as it could be used by the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) in Competition Commission of India in support of their lawsuit against Google “, Salman Waris, chief partner of TMT (telecom, media and technology) and IP firm at TechLegis told ET.

NL Rajah, a lawyer at the Madras High Court, agrees and said that if there is a precedent established abroad, he does not see how India can be far behind. Rajah said that legality will need to be looked at within the framework, but that with other countries taking a tough stance, there will be requests from organizations to bodies like the ICC to take a closer look at how these companies operate in India.

“Cross-border IP protection will become a norm in the future,” he said. “Eventually we will have to align with global trends. The speed or delay that will happen depends on the process of integrating the cross-border IP protection regime.”

Cross-border IP protection facilitation tools promote a balance between national policy provisions based on sovereignty and non-discrimination against foreign applicants.

In an interview with ET last year, the IT minister Ashvini Vaisnaw said that content producers and publishers must be remunerated by the online platforms that use their content.