Living in interesting times. That’s what keeps the blood pumping in newsrooms across this country, and that’s what’s brewing in the publishing industry these days.
You may have heard about Big Tech’s battle with Canada over legislation called the Online News Act. It’s better known as C-18, the bill that forces companies like Google and Meta (Facebook/Instagram) to pay publishers for content.
Google and Meta have said ‘No way. We won’t pay’. They have not only told Canada they have no intention of complying with C-18, but they also promise to discontinue news produced by publishers in Canada on their platforms.
What that means is, when a person in Canada ‘googles’ news on a topic, the content produced in Canada won’t be presented to them as an option. If a news publication, like Windspeaker, wants to use Facebook to notify its readers that there’s a new story on the website, the link to that news story won’t work.
Small independent publishers like Windspeaker stood very little chance of benefiting from C-18. We told Canada as much when we were included in the ‘Indigenous consultation’ on C-18 when it was in development. We told Canada that, because of our small size, there was no capacity for going into negotiations with a superpower like Meta, and even if there was, we would be one of the last in line for such negotiations. Let’s face it, C-18 was meant to benefit big mainstream publishers, not the likes of us.
And we also raised the concern that if we were cut off from our social media distribution channels, like Facebook, it would cause irreparable damage. We were so concerned about the possibility of such harm that Windspeaker decided to open new distribution channels just in case things went sideways.
That’s why the Windspeaker Newsletter was created this year, to cut out the middleman between Windspeaker and our readers. Congratulations. If you have already subscribed to the Windspeaker Newsletter, you got out in front of this C-18 mess. If you haven't yet subscribed, you have the power to beat the C-18 fallout by clicking Subscribe Here
While Google is still in discussions with Canada over the legislation, Meta has discontinued talks and stated they’ll be pulling the plug on online news in the coming weeks.
It’s just like Windspeaker feared. We are not destined to benefit from C-18, but we will be harmed by it, absolutely, and so will our readers. We all will be the collateral damage.
We must find new ways to stay connected to one another. That’s why we’re so grateful to you for joining us in this space. And we’re going to ask you to do us a favor. Share our newsletters or this message with your friends and encourage them to subscribe. We don’t want them to be swamped by the thrashing around of giants over C-18.
And if you tell two friends, and they tell two friends, we can build our own community and stay informed together.