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Canadian Heritage Minister: Pay Up for Linking

Accepted submission by canopic jug at 2020-09-14 05:20:58 from the RFC1945-what-RFC1945 dept.
Digital Liberty

University of Ottawa law professor, Michael Geist, writes on the copyright front that Canadian Heritage Minister, Steven Guilbeault, said the other day that it is immoral and unacceptable for web sites to link to other web sites without paying for each link [].

Facebook has said that it will block all news sharing on its platform in Australia if the government proceeds with a mandated payment system, noting the limited value of the links and arguing that its referrals that are worth hundreds of millions to the news organizations. If Canada were to pursue the same strategy, Canadian news sites would also likely be blocked and a trade complaint under the USMCA would be a virtual certainty.

Yet despite the significant risks and survey data that this could lead to a less informed public, Guilbeault is aligning with Rupert Murdoch, the chief advocate for these payments in Australia. He characterizes non-payment as “immoral and unacceptable”, claiming that Facebook makes hundreds of millions of dollars from Canadian media content without fair compensation. This points to a showdown like the one taking place in Australia, even though Canada has announced significant support for the sector that Guilbeault has thus far largely failed to deliver.

He plans for new legistation [] sometime soon and is tangled with the use of the giants to spread disinformation and strife. Trouble has been brewing for some while as the CRTC tries to find ways for streaming companies to fund Canadian content []. Guilbeault is expected to try to add new powers to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to enable a "link tax" on the Canadian part of the web. Perhaps that is ignoring, or in ignorance of, RFC 1945 [], the Hypetext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.0.

(2018) EU’s Proposed Link Tax Would Still Harm Creative Commons Licensors []
(2017) EU Study Finds Even Publishers Oppose the "Link Tax" []

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