The Indian Newspaper Society on Thursday, February 25, asked global web search engine Google to compensate Indian newspapers comprehensively for the use of published content and share advertising revenues.

The news comes just as Australia passed legislation binding tech giants like Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc to negotiate licensing agreements with publishers for articles appearing on their platforms.

L Adimoolam, President of INS that represents about 1000 Indian publishers, addressed a letter to Google India’s Country Manager Sanjay Gupta demanding the company to “pay for news generated by newspapers which employ thousands of journalists on the ground at considerable expense,” reported Hindustan Times.

The letter noted that the content generated and published by newspapers at a considerable expense was proprietary and it is this very credibility that has given Google its authenticity in India. The publishers around the world have been taking up the issue of fair payment and proper sharing of advertising revenue with Google, said the letter, pointing out that the company agreed to better compensate publishers in France, the EU and notably in Australia.

Lack of transparency in the advertising system means that publishers know a little about Google’s advertising value chain. Based on that premise, the INS has called on Google to increase the publisher’s share of advertising to 85 per cent besides ensuring greater transparency in revenue reports the company gives to publishers.

Moreover, the Society raised the issue of giving higher prominence to editorial content from registered news publishers than fake news from less-credible sources, suggesting that there was a huge distinction between the two not reflected in Google’s machine-based curation of news, thus “amplifying misinformation and propagation of fake news.”

Google has already struck commercial deals in Australia with some of the country’s major news companies including News Corp, and Canada and Britain are expected to follow suit.

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