Days after Google announced that publishers in Australia will be paid for news content provided, the Financial Times is reporting that the European Union is working on similar legislation. The reported legislation, according to FT, will force big tech companies like Facebook and Google to pay for news.
Recall that Google had threatened to deactivate Search in the Australian market some weeks back. Google later backtracked and has now promised to pay some publishers for news content provided in the country. The search engine in a new blog post announced that it will pay some publishers as part of a licensing program to refer traffic to their stories.
If the new legislation is passed into law, Google may have to start paying publishers in Australia; something the search engine giant kicked against at the time. In its response, the search engine giant threatened to disable its Search service in the country should the new code come into effect.
In July 2020, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) drafted the News Media Bargaining Code. According to the code, digital media would be required to pay media organizations for the content they show in their search results. The code was proposed by the Australian government who felt that Google and Facebook had too much power in the media industry.
“The ability to link freely between websites is fundamental to Search. This code creates an unreasonable and unmanageable financial and operational risk to our business. If the Code were to become law in its current form, we would have no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia,” Google’s Managing Director in Australia Mel Silva said while speaking to the Senate committee in charge of the matter.
MEPs working on two landmark draft European digital regulations informed FT that the laws could be amended as they pass through the European Union parliament to include aspects of the Australian reforms.
“With their dominant market position in search, social media and advertising, large digital platforms create power imbalances and benefit significantly from news content,” he said. “I think it is only fair that they pay back a fair amount,” Alex Saliba, a Maltese MEP said per FT.
In its response, Google per the Financial Times said: “People trust Google to help them find relevant and reliable information from a range of websites, and this helps publishers by sending them valuable traffic to their sites,” Google said. “We are willing to pay to further support journalism and we are doing that around the world.”