Google blocks news distribution in California to oppose proposed link tax on news links

Google has announced that it will stop distributing news in California in opposition to the California Journalism Protection Act (CJPA) , a bill currently under consideration in the California State Assembly.

Why the California Journalism Preservation Act is putting support of the news ecosystem at risk

Google blocks California news outlets as new law looms: NPR

The CJPA is a new bill to support journalism in California, and if it becomes law, it will require news aggregator services such as Google to pay a ' link tax .' However, Google has long argued that this type of link tax is the wrong approach, and has pointed out that if the CJPA is enacted, it could significantly change the traffic it can provide to California news publishers.

Google offers news publishers of all sizes the opportunity to grow their audience for free by helping people easily find news articles, but the CJPA would force Google to upend that model.

Google also points out that 'CJPA favors the media companies and hedge funds that have been lobbying for its passage. They may use CJPA funding to buy up local media outlets in California, fire journalists, and create more ghost newspapers that produce lower-quality content at lower costs. CJPA will also disadvantage smaller publishers and limit consumer access to a diverse local media ecosystem.'

Google pointed out that the current CJPA does not set a payment cap for the link tax, and that if it continues as it is, it may be required to make financially impossible payments, which 'creates a level of business uncertainty that no company can accept. In preparation for the impact of the CJPA, Google has begun a short-term test for a small number of users in California, in which it removes links to news sites operated by California media that incur link taxes. In addition, Google explained that it will suspend further investments in the California news ecosystem, including new partnerships through Google News, products and licensing programs for news organizations, and plans to expand the Google News Initiative, until the regulatory environment in California is clear.

Google said of the CJPA, 'We believe that the CJPA will undermine news in California. We do not take these decisions lightly and want to be transparent with California publishers, lawmakers and users. We urge lawmakers to take a different approach to avoid an outcome that would further damage California's news industry.' Google said it will continue to work with lawmakers to explore alternatives to the CJPA so that it can continue to support California's news ecosystem.

On the other hand, Democratic Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, who proposed the CJPA, pointed out that at least 100 news organizations have been forced to close in California over the past decade, and said, 'This is a fundamental fairness bill, and it aims to ensure that platforms pay for the content they reuse. Wicks explained that the CJPA is 'a necessary bill to support media companies that are facing economic crisis due to the sharp decline in advertising revenue.'

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which tracks employment statistics, the US news media industry is likely to lose more than 20,000 jobs in 2023 alone. This figure is the largest since the news media industry laid off about 30,000 people during the pandemic.

According to Insider Intelligence, an analyst report produced and published by Business Insider, at least 70% of digital advertising revenue is collected by Google and Meta. Google's digital advertising revenue in 2023 was $307 billion (about 47 trillion yen).

It's not just big companies like Google and Meta that are opposed to bills like the CJPA that would impose a link tax. Software engineer Christina Warren said that requiring payment of a link tax is 'immoral' and goes against the open web and everything it stands for. Others say that a link tax would destroy the idea of the 'open web' that underpins the current Internet.

A similar bill to the CJPA is also under consideration in Canada and is already close to being passed. In response to the Canadian bill, Meta will stop distributing news in Canada on Facebook and Instagram. Meanwhile, Google has signed an agreement with the Canadian government to pay $74 million (approximately 11 billion yen) per year to the Canadian news media industry.

Facebook and Instagram halt news distribution in Canada in response to bill that would require revenue sharing for news content - GIGAZINE

in Web Service, Posted by logu_ii