Australia Wants Google & Facebook To Pay For News

Australia is the first country to compel Google and Facebook to pay for news content provided by media publishers. This will be law by the end of 2020 Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said. “It's about a fair go for Australian news media businesses. It’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection, and a sustainable media landscape,” Frydenberg told reporters in Melbourne.

The move comes as the tech giants fend off calls around the world for greater regulation, and a day after Google and Facebook took a battering for alleged abuse of market power from US lawmakers in a congressional hearing.

Following an inquiry into the state of the media market and the power of the US platforms, the Australian government late last year told Facebook and Google to negotiate a voluntary deal with media companies to use their content. This legislation will be required companies to negotiate with media outlets over using their news content, and will have three months to come to an agreement.

If the tech firms are found to be breaching the code, they could face fines of up to A$10m (£5.4m) per breach or 10% of yearly local turnover, depending on which is biggest. 

Google said the regulation ignores “billions of clicks” that it sends to Australian news publishers each year. “It sends a concerning message to businesses and investors that the Australian government will intervene instead of letting the market work... It does nothing to solve the fundamental challenges of creating a business model fit for the digital age” Mel Silva, the  Google chief in Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement.

Some countries have previously attempted this type of legislation without success. Publishers in France, Germany and Spain have all attempted to pass national copyright laws that would require Google to pay fees when it publishes pieces of their news articles. In 2019, Google stopped showing news snippets from European publishers on search results for its French users, while Germany’s biggest news publisher, Axel Springer, allowed the search engine to run snippets of its articles after the traffic to its sites considerably reduced.

SlashDot:     Reuters:    Telegraph:        Financial Post

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