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Australia Poised to Make Google and Facebook Pay for Publishing Aussie News

The Australian government has drafted a set of codes for Aussie news media to use in bargaining with Google and Facebook over the use of local news content.

Australia though is not the first country to take issue over revenues being earned by the two online platforms in relation to advertising revenues collected from news media businesses. Yet Australian authorities are the firsts to show determination in forcing Google and Facebook to pay for publishing news content furnished by said news media companies. .

According to a 2019 study conducted for the Australian government, nearly a third of the advertising money paid by Australian news media companies for online advertising, goes to Google and Facebook but without reciprocity; not even paying for the news feeds they publish as content in their online platforms.

The study also revealed that in the past ten years, about 3,000 journalism jobs were eliminated, because it was necessary for traditional Aussie media companies to pay advertising fees to Google and Facebook in order to be globally competitive.

Although other countries like Germany, France and Spain have previously taken steps to legislate national copyright laws that would force the two tech giants to pay licensing fees, no such law has yet been enacted. However, Google started avoiding publishing snippets of news sourced from the respective news media outlets of said countries.

Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that the country will soon be the first sovereignty to collect licensing fees from Google and Facebook if the two tech companies intend to continue publishing news content furnished by the country’s news media firms. The law will require payment under a royalty-style scheme. Frydenberg added

It’s about fairness for Australian news media businesses, and about ensuring increased competition, increased consumer protection, as well as maintaining a sustainable media landscape in Australia.”

Google’s Response to Australia’s Forthcoming Move to Collect Royalty Fees for News

In response, Google’s Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand Mel Silva said the pending Australian regulation ignores the yearly “billions of clicks” that Google sends to Australian news publishers. Silva asserts that the move sends a concerning message to investors and businesses that the Australian government is inclined to intervene instead of allowing the market to work. Such course of action does not address the basic challenges of establishing a creative business model that is suitable for the digital age.

Facebook on the other hand said the company rejects the Australian government’s proposal since the platform can do without news. Such items are not important for the social media platform