Australia is planning to introduce landmark legislation that will force Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google to pay broadcasters and publishers. Parliament will debate the draft proposal After the Senate Economics Legislation Committee recommended no draft bill changes.
Proposed news media bargaining code in parliament for discussion
The Senate committee has been discussing the bill since last year December when it was introduced in parliament. With the draft proposal on course to become law, Australia will be the first country globally to require the internet giants to pay for news content. The country’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that parliament will consider the bill from the week starting February 15.
Google indicated that the legislation is unworkable, but the bill has bipartisan support from parliament. The search engine giant warned that if the law comes into law, it might be forced to pull out of Australia altogether. However, senators have rejected Google and Facebook’s arguments that the bargaining code is unworkable. Once the bill becomes law, the internet giants will negotiate payment with news media for the content appearing on their platforms. Interestingly the Senate committee acknowledges that there were some risks with the regulation but recommended that a review only be possible after a year.
Review of the law necessary after a year
A report from the committee indicates that it is likely that not all risks have been accounted for; thus, further refinement to the arbitration mechanism is necessary. Equally, there is a need to refine other parts of the bargaining code to work in an optimum manner. Frydenberg said that Treasury will review the law to ensure it delivers consistent outcomes with the government policy. He added that the government expects all parties to continue working towards reaching commercial deals in the spirit of the collaboration encouraged by the code.
Despite the standoff between the companies and authorities, Google launched its paid-for platform last week by signing deals with various publishers in an attempt to show that the proposed bill is unnecessary.