Australia reportedly passed legislation 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, reports The Verge.
“This is a significant milestone,” said Josh Frydenberg, the deputy leader of the Australian Liberal Party.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACC) also commented on the new law, saying it will address “a significant bargaining power imbalance between Australian news media businesses and Google and Facebook.”
According to Breitbart, 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.
Meanwhile, Microsoft President Brad Smith praised the new bill as a “big step forward”:
“This new law is a big step forward. It helps ensure publishers and journalists get paid a fairer share for their work. Australia has shown what’s possible and other democracies around the world can build on their ideas.”
This new law is a big step forward. It helps ensure publishers and journalists get paid a fairer share for their work. Australia has shown what’s possible and other democracies around the world can build on their ideas. https://t.co/je2J5CpIvY
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) February 25, 2021
Main Image Credit: CNN