Australia does not plan to alter legislation that would require Facebook and Google to pay news outlets for content, according to a senior lawmaker.
Reuters reports that Simon Birmingham, Australia’s Minister for Finance, has stated that Australia does not plan to alter legislation that would make Facebook and Google pay news outlets for access to their content. Birmingham’s comments come as Canberra nears a final vote on whether to pass the bill into law.
Tech giants have been in a defiant stand-off with Australia in recent weeks over the bill, with Google threatening to pull out of the country entirely before announcing a deal with News Corp, and Facebook removing the pages of multiple Australian government bodies and non-profits.
Simon Birmingham, Australia’s Minister for Finance, told Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio: “The bill as it stands … meets the right balance.” He added that the bill ensures “Australian-generated news content by Australian-generated news organizations can and should be paid for and done so in a fair and legitimate way”.
While the tech giants have protested the bill, last week Google signed a deal with top Australian outlets including a global deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Birmingham commented: “There’s no reason Facebook can’t do and achieve what Google already has.”
A Facebook representative declined to comment on Monday on the legislation which passed the lower house last week and has majority support in the Senate. A final vote after the third reading of the bill is expected on Tuesday.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had sharp words for the Masters of the Universe in January, saying: “We don’t respond to threats. Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our Parliament. It’s done by our government. And that’s how things work here in Australia.”
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Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address email@example.com