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Crampton warns against adopting the proposed Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill

Summarised by Centrist 

Dr Eric Crampton’s critique of the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill, paralleled with Canada’s Online News Act, warns of adopting legislation without fully understanding its consequences. 

New Zealand’s proposed bill shares features with Canada’s regime, potentially burdening platforms like Google and Facebook with compulsory bargaining and arbitration. 

Crampton says that in Canada it has not gone well for news outlets expecting windfalls. Meta blocked news links on Facebook, with Google poised to do the same. Smaller news sites reliant on Facebook traffic suffered significant drops. 

Lobbyists begged for tax credits, up to 35% of labour costs per employee, to avoid layoffs. In response, the Canadian government initiated a four-year program, doubling tax credits for “Qualified Canadian Journalism Organizations.”

They also exempted Google from the binding arbitration portion of the legislation out of worry that Google would block links to avoid penalties. 

“Canada’s version of the legislation worked so well that the Canadian government had to bail out the country’s newspapers,” he says. 

Crampton urges a thorough examination of Canada’s missteps and suggests letting the bill die at the Select Committee stage. 

Read more over at NZ Initiative

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