Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) executives have told Australia’s Senate Economics Legislation Committee that they will take drastic measures if the country enacts the news media bargaining code. The law, if enacted will force the companies to pay publishers to use their content for their ad business.
ACCC says bargaining code won’t change
Even though the internet giants have been lobbying for changes to the code, it now seems nothing will change. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chair Rod Sims has said that most of the issues the companies raised regarding the proposed law were addressed in December when the legislation received support in the lower house. Sims indicated that the companies aren’t raising anything new but they just don’t want the bargaining code.
He said that the tech giants love doing things their way, but the code is workable and intends to do what it should do. Sims explained that it allows for negotiation and these are the kinds of things that have worked in the past where parties negotiate-arbitrate regimes. He said that Facebook and Google don’t want arbitration because they prefer commercial deals where there are in control of the terms. He explained that in such circumstances that is not a commercial deal and in all monopolies he has encountered he has heard the line “don’t regulate us, leave it for commercial negotiation. They prefer the “take it or leave it” since they are a monopoly.
Code to give content publishers power in commercial deals
Sims said that the only way of dealing with these behemoths is giving news media businesses some muscle to bargain during commercial deals. He said that although the code will not equal things up it will certainly help. Therefore, the code is the only way news media businesses can get commercial deals from the giants.
Since August last year, Google and Facebook have been in a tussle with the ACCC regarding the code. The government holds that the code will help address bargaining power imbalances between news media enterprises and digital platforms.