Australia Passes Law Forcing Google, Facebook to Pay News Publishers

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23: With an image of himself on a screen in the background, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg testified about Facebook's proposed cryptocurrency …
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The Australian government has reportedly passed a new law requiring Google and Facebook to pay news outlets for access to their content.

The Verge reports that the Australian government has passed a law that will force tech giants like Google and Facebook to negotiate a payment scheme with news outlets for access to their content or face arbitration.

Josh Frydenberg, the Australian Liberal party’s deputy leader, stated: “This is a significant milestone. This legislation will help level the playing field & see Australian news media businesses paid for generating original content.”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) stated that the new law will address “a significant bargaining power imbalance between Australian news media businesses and Google and Facebook.”

The tech giants heavily resisted 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 as it blacklisted all media outlets in the country.

Facebook has since agreed to restore access to news pages in the country after the government agreed to small changes to the legislation. The amendments include requiring an additional round of negotiation before binding arbitration takes effect as well as more acknowledgment of any deals Facebook reaches with publishers independently.

The News Media Bargaining Code requires Facebook and Google to pay a fee to link to or use news content and includes a mandatory arbitration process if an agreement on fees cannot be reached. It also requires tech firms to give advanced notice to news organizations about upcoming changes to the firm’s algorithms.

Microsoft president Brad Smith tweeted his support of the new bill, calling it a “big step forward:”

Microsoft has publicly baked the law, saying that the law “reasonably attempts to address the bargaining power imbalance between digital platforms and Australian news businesses” and that Microsoft would be willing to abide by the rules “if the government designates us.”

Read more about the law at Breitbart News here.

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 lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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