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Canadian news media accuse Google of 'misinformation' –



In the latest spat in a drawn-out battle between big tech companies and Canada’s print and digital publishers over who should profit from Canadian news content, MPs have written to federal lawmakers, accusing Google Canada of spreading misinformation about them.

“It’s important for us to correct the facts,” News Media Canada CEO John Hind told iPolitics.  

News Media Canada is the lobby group representing most of Canada’s print and digital publishers. It wants Ottawa to regulate what it considers big tech’s monopoly of advertising revenue and its ability to profit from Canadian content.

In its letter to MPs earlier this month, Google Canada said, “The emergence of the internet, not Google, disrupted the news industry.”

Google denies stealing news content, saying the internet merely gave users more options for news content at cheaper prices.

“We don’t provide the content, just a link and sometimes a small extract of the article to give users a preview,” Google wrote, adding that it “sent more than five billion visits to Canadian news publishers last year at no charge.”

Google also says it earned about $9 million in ad revenues related to news queries in Canada last year, saying the bulk of its revenue comes from commercial queries, not news ones.

More than 500,000 Canadian businesses have benefited from buying digital ads on Google — advertising they wouldn’t be able to afford in print, the company added.

In a letter signed by Hinds last week, News Media said Facebook and Google are siphoning off Canadian content — and the lion’s share of advertising revenues essential to produce it — “in a monopolistic abuse of power.”

“This deliberately undermines local newspapers across Canada, and puts local news media, as a whole, in grave jeopardy,” the letter reads. 

News Media Canada has long pushed Ottawa to follow Australia’s lead by taxing big tech, such as Facebook and Google, for sharing links created by news organizations.

This would allow a bargaining agreement between the two, so news companies are compensated for stories shared on big-tech platforms. But the policy, dubbed a “link tax,” also runs the risk of causing big tech to walk away from news-sharing entirely, which is what Facebook has threatened to do in Australia.

READ MORE: Ottawa’s targeting web giants, not media licences, says Minister Guilbeault. But what’s his plan?

Hinds said the news industry is taking on big-tech players who are engaging in “vicious lobbying” — but so are industry representatives. 

The Torstar Corporation, iPolitics’ parent company, is also advocating for the Australian model of fair content compensation, and wants to discuss making digital subscriptions income-tax deductible.

News-media outlets are ramping up their efforts on Parliament Hill as MPs consider Bill C-10, an act to amend the Broadcasting Act. Introduced in November, it’s currently at second reading in the House of Commons.

The proposed changes would allow Canada’s broadcast regulator to seek financial contributions from players like Netflix, Spotify, Crave, and Disney Plus. But the government has been clear that measures requiring digital platforms like Google and Facebook to remunerate news publishers will be addressed in separate legislation. 

Hinds said News Media Canada’s letter is supported by MPs in all parties, and members understand that digital players are not benign actors when it comes to sharing news.

Because of the lack of opposition from federal legislators, he said policies to crack down on link-sharing should be “fairly easy to move forward,” even in a minority Parliament.

With files from Janet Silver. 

READ MORE: Lobby Wrap: Media companies step up efforts targeting new broadcast bill

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Social Media Buzz: Larry King Dies, Dr. Birx, Heathrow Crowds – BNN



(Bloomberg) — What’s buzzing on social media this morning:

Larry King, the interviewer whose schmoozy style attracted celebrities, politicians and other newsmakers as guests and made him the star of a top-rated U.S. cable talk show, has died. He was 87.

  • King died Saturday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The cause of death wasn’t provided. The cancer and stroke survivor had spent time recently undergoing treatment for Covid-19.

Pfizer Inc. is trending on Twitter. Senior doctors in the U.K. are urging the gap between first and second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine doses be halved to ensure efficacy. The U.K. extended the maximum wait from three to 12 weeks to get more people to take the first shot. France may also delay second doses to stretch supplies.

  • Large crowds at Heathrow Airport on Friday sparked concerns of virus spread. U.K. only allows residents to travel internationally for “legally-permitted reasons.”

Dr. Deborah Birx said she “always” considered quitting Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force as she worried she’d been viewed as a political person. “I mean, why would you want to put yourself through that, um, every day?” Birx told CBS in an interview that will air Sunday, according to an advance clip. Her term ended as Biden took office.

Protests broke out in cities across Russia as tens of thousands demanded the release of jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Police detained hundreds of people.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Blockbuster Laine-Dubois deal draws mixed reviews on social media –



Sometimes, change happens fast.

Mere days after Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella benched Pierre-Luc Dubois, one of his team’s best players, in an overtime loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Dubois was packing his bags to go play in another country altogether.

The Blue Jackets traded the 22-year-old, who had requested to be dealt shortly after signing a two-year, $10-million bridge contract in the off-season, to the Winnipeg Jets for superstar winger Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic in a move that sent shockwaves through the NHL.

Not all blockbusters are universally well-received, of course. And while some on Twitter celebrated the move as a shuffling of high-profile talent, others were quick to wonder how the dynamic between Laine, an offensive-minded forward, and Tortorella will play out.

Here is some of the best reaction to the winter blockbuster:

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Social media's sea shanty trend scores well with musician-curator –



Southern Ontario folk musician Ian Bell says it makes sense that sea shanties are taking off on social media right now because they are participatory and easy to learn.

“It’s easier to learn Heave ‘Er Up and Bust ‘Er than it is to try and figure out all the bits for, say Bohemian Rhapsody or something,” Bell, who is also the former curator of the Port Dover Habour Museum, told CBC. 

“I think for a lot of people, singing shanties at this moment is like the musical equivalent of learning to bake your own bread.”

The social media platform Tik Tok is awash in videos of people performing the traditional work songs or altering others’ videos of them, and even talk show hosts such as Stephen Colbert have gotten in on the action.

The songs are appealing because of their communal nature, Bell said.

“There is nothing better than being in a large gang of people who are singing their faces off often in three or four part harmonies, and it’s one of those situations where it kind of goes beyond musical. You know the vibrations can go right through you,” he said.

One of the best shanty sings used to take place at the Mill Race Festival in Cambridge, he said, where 60 or 70 singers would pack into the Kiwi Pub and belt out the numbers.

Musician Ian Bell has been singing sea shanties for many years and says he loves shanties about the Great Lakes because of the local connection. (

Songs to make work easier

Shanties aren’t so much songs as they are templates of songs, Bell said.

The rhythm helped workers carry out tasks in unison such as pulling in sails on sailboats.

“Some of the jobs needed a bunch of short pulls, and some of the jobs needed longer pulls, and so there was a whole repertoire of songs that fitted those needs and that the sailors sang to make the work go a little more easily,” he said.

But the lyrics were fluid.

Each work crew might have a shantyman — possibly the person with the loudest voice — who might recall some of the original words to the number, but there was a lot of improvisation, Bell explained.

“If the job wasn’t over and he’d finished the song, ‘Well, we’ll add a verse about the cook,'” he added.

Great Lakes shanties name local spots

A number of sea shanties were written on or about the Great Lakes and they are particular to the types of ships on the lakes, he said. Specifically, they were schooners rather than clipper ships. 

There were lots of capstan shanties, or songs sung while rotating the capstan to pull in an anchor, he said. Some also specifically mention the lakes or the surrounding areas.

“They mention Buffalo and they mention Long Point and they mention Windsor and Sarnia,” Bell said. 

For those wanting to learn a shanty or two and get in on the social media activity, Bell recommended Bully in the Alley and It’s Me for the Inland Lakes.

“I love the way it’s happening on Tik Tok,” Bell said, “which I haven’t tried, because, let’s be frank; I’m an old guy.”

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