“Media Coalition Asks for Federal Probe into Google’s Removal of California News Links”

Media Coalition Asks for Federal Probe into Google's Removal of California News Links## Demand for Federal Probe Into Google’s Removal of California News Links

The News/Media Alliance, a body representing over 2,200 publishers, urges US federal authorities to examine Google’s actions in erasing links to California news outlets. This step is Google’s reaction to the anticipated California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA) that would require tech firms to pay for content shared from publishers based in California.

Overview of California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA)

The CJPA is a law approved by the state assembly last year, which enforces Google and other similar platforms to remunerate California-based news organizations for their linked content. Jaffer Zaidi, Google’s VP of Global News Partnerships, opposes the CJPA, citing it as an “incorrect method of supporting journalism.” He claims that this act could negatively impact smaller publishers and restrict consumers’ access to a variety of local news platforms.

Google’s Stance on CJPA

Google has recently shared in a blog post its decision to eliminate links as an experiment to understand how the CJPA would influence its platform. The tech giant commences a “brief test for a certain percent of Californian users” by erasing links to California news sites that could be impacted by the CJPA. In addition, Google pauses additional investments in the California news landscape until further clarity is provided regarding the state’s regulatory climate.

Potential Legal Consequences

The News/Media Alliance suggests several laws that Google could potentially be infringing upon due to its link removal. These involve federal offenses such as the Lanham Act, the Sherman Antitrust Act, and the Federal Trade Commission Act. The letters to California’s Attorney General also mention possible violations of state laws like the Unruh Civil Rights Act, false advertising and misrepresentation laws, the California Consumer Privacy Act, and California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL).

Google’s Previous Encounters with Similar Laws

Google has seen varied responses to similar laws in the past. It withdrew Google News from Spain for seven years because of local copyright laws that demand licensing fees from publishers. Conversely, it agreed to deals worth $150 million to compensate Australian publishers and refrained from removing news from search results in Canada, choosing to pay the $74 million necessary as per the Online News Act.

Final Thoughts

The dispute over Google’s removal of California news links draws attention to the ongoing struggle between technology giants and news publishers concerning content remuneration. As the CJPA could set a precedent for other states and nations, the investigation’s outcome may significantly influence the future of digital news.

Question and Answer Session

1. What is the purpose of the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA)?
The CJPA is a proposed legislation that obliges tech firms like Google to pay when they link to news content from publishers based in California.

2. What is Google’s response to the CJPA?
Google has decided to remove links to California news organizations as an experiment to evaluate the CJPA’s impact on its platform. The company also suspended further investments in the California news industry.

3. Which laws is Google purportedly breaching according to the News/Media Alliance?
The News/Media Alliance contends that Google could be in violation of multiple federal and state laws, including the Lanham Act, the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, and others.

4. How has Google reacted to similar laws abroad?
Google’s reaction has been variable. It evacuated from Spain due to local copyright regulations but agreed to terms with Australian publishers and conformed to the Online News Act in Canada.

5. What are the potential effects of this investigation?
The investigation’s outcome may establish a precedent for how tech companies should compensate news publishers for their content, which could affect the global digital journalism sphere.