The Australian Government passed a new law that will force tech companies such as Facebook and Google to pay publishers for news content, setting the stage for possible, similar action in other countries. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stated that the new law, which the parliament approved on Thursday, will ensure that news media businesses are impartially paid for the content they generate.
In recent months, people across the world hotly discussed the Australian unprecedented new law. Whereas Google and Facebook opposed the initial version of the new code, which allowed media outlets to bargain either collectively or individually with them – and to enter necessary negotiation if the parties couldn’t reach a pact.
Australia passes new law requiring Facebook and Google to pay for news. What do you think about this? #BCSTT
— ruoyan zeng (@RuoyanZ) February 25, 2021
Last week, Facebook banned news pages in Australia in opposition to the legislation. However, the tech giant announced earlier this week that it would restore these pages to the legislation, including a provision that must take into account Facebook made a noteworthy contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry through accomplishing commercial contracts with media businesses.
Meanwhile, negotiation will now only used as a last option following a duration of good faith mediation. After those revisions, Facebook said that the new agreement would allow it to support the publishers they choose to. Later, it revealed an agreement with Seven West Media, the main Australian news company, with plans to sign more with other publishers.
Treasury Department will review the new law
Google, on the other hand trying to get ahead of the new law by announcing partnerships with media organizations in Australia, like Seven and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. The Government of Australia said that the Treasury department of the country would review the new legislation after one year to ensure it is bringing outcomes that are reliable with the policy intent of the Government.
Whereas Facebook found a solution to its problems in Australia, still, its is forcefully defending its opposition to similar extensive measures. Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, wrote in a blog spot that the events in Australia demonstrate the masking the effort for cash subsidies behind distortions about how the internet works. The former United Kingdom deputy prime minister opened up about the decision of the digital platform to stop news sharing in Australia, accepting that the move would felt dramatic and sudden to many.
Furthermore, he wrote that they didn’t take the decision lightly. The tech company had been in talks with the Australian Government for the last three years to explain why this anticipated law, unamended, was impracticable. So, Facebook had no choice but to take immediate action last week, Clegg argued, because they felt the legal necessity to do so before the execution of the new law.
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The fight is set to continue, and similar cases may soon emerge in other countries in the coming future, with the European Union and the United States facing mounting pressure to implement these measures. The Government of Canada also announced that it plans to introduce the law in the coming months.