The Australian government has passed legislation requiring Facebook and Google to pay Australian media for news content. This decision was made by the government after it required Facebook and Google to agree on a “fair use” of their content in 2019.
After the negotiations did not take place, the authorities made a demand: if an agreement is not reached through arbitration within 45 days, the Australian Communications and Media Authority will pass a law that will oblige companies to pay media.
“This is about fair treatment of Australian media companies. We want to ensure increased competition, strengthen consumer rights, and create a sustainable media landscape. The media must grow, develop, and receive fair wages for their work”.
Josh Freidenberg, Treasurer of Australia
Google noted that this decision ignores the “billions of clicks” that the company provides Australian publications annually. “We take this as a signal that the government will actively intervene in our work, rather than let the market run on its own,” said Mel Silva, managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand. “This ruling does not solve anything in terms of solving the fundamental problems of building a business in the digital age.” Facebook declined to comment.
A 2019 study found that about 3,000 journalists have been laid off in Australia over the past 10 years, due to declining advertising in traditional media. Publishers in Germany, France and Spain are also demanding additional copyright laws that force third-party companies to pay for news content.