Australia passes law requiring Google and Facebook to pay for new content

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The Australian government has passed the law that requires Facebook and Google to negotiate with news outlets to pay for their content or face arbitration.

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

The new code has seen fierce opposition from the two tech giants; the most vocal being Facebook, which temporarily blocked users and publishers from sharing news content on its main social network and only relented after the Australian government agreed to make a series of amendments to the proposed law.

The News Media Bargaining Code requires Google and Facebook to pay a negotiated fee to use or link news content and includes a mandatory arbitration process if an agreement on fees cannot be reached.It is the threat of arbitration that both Facebook and Google are hoping to avoid, a process in which an independent body decides the value of new content in search results and feeds.

However, amendments to the law mean the government can also take into account any commercial agreements a tech company has made with news publishers before formally designating it as a platform under the code. The law is due to be reviewed a year after it comes into effect to assess its impact.


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