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Indian publishers see victory as Canada orders ePlatforms to pay for news

by Tess Hutchinson
Experts say a recent Canadian order that forces platforms such as Google to pay publishers bolsters the case for Indian newspapers and their digital news publications that have made a similar demand.

Google has also signed deals to pay more than 300 publishers in Germany, France and four other EU countries for their news and will roll out 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 the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) alleged a abuse of dominant position. The association estimates that more than 50% of total news website traffic is routed through Google and that the search giant, with its algorithms, determines which news website is discovered through search.

Canada’s April 5 order follows one issued earlier in Australia and experts said such moves in other countries like France and Spain will encourage Indian lawmakers and the ICC to implement fair play.

“The Canadian legislation could have implications here in India, as it could be used by the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) of India’s Competition Commission in support of their case filed against Google,” said Salman Waris, associate director of TMT (telecoms, media and technology) and intellectual property practice at TechLegis told ET.

Madras High Court Barrister NL Rajah agreed and said while there is precedent set overseas, he does not see how India can be far behind. Rajah said legality will have to be looked at in the framework, but with other countries taking a strong stance, there will be demands 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 standard in the future,” he said. “Eventually, we will have to align with global trends. How soon or later this will happen depends on the process of integrating the cross-border IP protection regime.”

Tools to facilitate cross-border intellectual property protection promote a balance between national policy arrangements based on sovereignty and non-discrimination against foreign applicants.

In an interview with ET last year, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said content producers and publishers should be paid by the online platforms that use their content.

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