An association of India’s leading newspapers on Thursday asked search engine Google to compensate them for carrying their content online, and share 85% of the revenues from advertisements with the publications, NDTV reported.
In a letter to Google, the Indian Newspaper Society, or INS, which represents around 1,000 publishers, said the United States-based company “should pay for news generated by the newspapers which employ thousands of journalists”.
“Since the content which is generated and published by newspapers at considerable expense is proprietary, the Society pointed out that it is this credible content which has given Google the authenticity in India ever since its inception,” the INS said.
The association noted that over the past few years, publishers across the world have been raising the matter of fair payment for content. It pointed out that the company had recently agreed to better compensate publishers in France, the European Union and notably in Australia.
“Advertising has been the financial backbone of the news industry,” the letter added. “However, newspaper publishers are seeing their share of the advertising pie shrinking in the digital space, even as Google is taking a ‘giant share of advertising spends’, leaving publishers with a small share.”
The Indian Newspaper Society also sought greater prominence for editorial content from genuine news publishers in order to tackle fake news. It said that Google picks up content from sources that are often not credible, thus “amplifying misinformation and propagation of fake news”.
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The association’s letter to Google came on the same day the Australian Parliament passed a new media bargaining code that will make it compulsory for the search giant and Facebook to pay media companies in the country for content, Reuters reported.
The code will be reviewed within one year of its commencement, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said “The code will ensure that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate, helping to sustain public-interest journalism in Australia,” read their statement.
Frydenberg and Fletcher said the government was pleased to see “progress by both Google and more recently Facebook” in reaching commercial arrangements with Australian news media.
Facebook had cut off news in Australia last week amid tense negotiations with the government. But it said earlier this week that it would restore them after the country made some changes to the code, including a provision that “must take into account whether a digital platform has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry through reaching commercial agreements with news media businesses,” reported CNN.