Australian Parliament Passes Law to Force Google, Facebook to Pay For News

Australian Parliament Passes Law to Force Google, Facebook to Pay For News

"In the United Kingdom, a new digital regulator is being set up; in Australia, parliament has been debating a law to force platforms to pay for content", he said.

The new law paves the way for Google and Facebook to invest tens of millions of dollars in local content deals, and could prove a model for resolving the firms' tussles with regulators worldwide.

The first-of-its-kind measure cleared its last hurdle when the parliament approved a set of amendments made to appease Facebook, which blocked Australian users from viewing or sharing news articles last week.

"After further discussions with the Australian government, we have come to an agreement that will allow us to support the publishers we choose to, including small and local publishers", said Campbell Brown, head of Facebook's Global News Partnerships division, in a statement obtained by the CNET. A last-minute amendment gave digital platforms one month's notice before they are formally designated under the code, giving the parties more time to broker agreements before they are forced to enter binding arbitration arrangements.

In short, Australia wanted to make the likes of Facebook and Google pay news providers for any news content featured on their services.

"[These] things take time", Sims said.

Google, the only other digital giant targeted by the legislation, has already struck content licensing deals, or is close to deals, with some of Australia's biggest news publishers including Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and Seven West Media.

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Australia's treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, mentioned the passing of the information media bargaining code was "a major milestone" and that "this laws will assist stage the enjoying discipline and see Australian information media companies paid for producing authentic content material".

Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, said in a blog post Wednesday that the Australian law stems from a misunderstanding of its relationship with media companies, which choose to post their content on social media.

News Corp, the parent of The Wall Street Journal, has a commercial agreement to supply news through Facebook. "There is only so much online income available for everybody", Gervais said.

The deals were signed with Australian independent news organizations Private Media, Schwartz Media and Solstice Media. Frydenberg said his department will review the code within a year to 'ensure it is delivering outcomes that are consistent with government's policy intent'. Facebook and Google still face the prospect of having to agree deals with media around the world, as the European Union, Canada, and other jurisdictions move to regulate the sector.

Private media publishes Crikey, The Mandarin and Smart Company.

"For every $100 that is spent (on advertising), $81 goes to Google and Facebook", he told 2GB yesterday.

The UK's news media trade group News Media Association described Facebook as a "school yard bully" trying to "protect its dominant position".

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