Australian parliament approves media reforms after recent changes
CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA) – Australia’s parliament passed a law on Thursday to make Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc make payments to media companies for content on their platforms, as part of reforms that countries such as Britain and Canada are aiming to recreate.
The vote makes Australia the first nation, which can fix the price tech giants pay domestic media, as a a government arbitrator, if private talks does not become successful.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said in a joint statement, “The code will ensure news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate, helping to sustain public interest journalism.”
The new law would serve as a pedestal for a dispute-handling process, which remains largely untested in corporate Australia, if negotiations between Big Tech and media companies fail. Its progress will be closely monitored globally.
Both sides emerged victorious after Australia offered Facebook some concessions, which includes government discretion to set the tech giants free from arbitration if they can prove a “significant contribution” to the domestic news industry.
The new code also gives the tech companies a longer period to scrap media deals before the state makes an intervention. It will be reviewed within a year of taking effect, the joint statement said, however, it did not gave any start date.