Australia Australia passes new law to pay Facebook and Google for news

The new code, approved by the Australian Parliament on Thursday, will “ensure that news media businesses receive a fair return for the content they create,” Australian Australian Treasurer Josh Friedenberg said in a statement.

The country’s unprecedented new law has been hotly debated in recent months. Facebook (FB) And Google (Google) Opposed the initial version of the law, which would have allowed media outlets to deal with them individually or collectively – and would enter into binding arbitration if the parties could not reach an agreement.
Facebook also shut down news coverage in Australia last week in protest of the law. But he said earlier this week that he would reinstate them after making some changes to the code in the country, including a provision that “must consider whether commercial access through the digital platform has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian Australian news industry.” Agreements with media businesses. “

Arbitration, meanwhile, will now be used only as a “last resort” after a period of “goodwill” mediation.

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Facebook said the new agreement would allow it to “support publishers we select” after it was amended. It later announced a deal with Seven West Media, a major Australian news company, with plans to sign more with other publishers..

Google, meanwhile, is already trying to move forward with new legislation by announcing partnerships with media organizations in Australia, including Seven and Rupert Murdoch. News Corp. (NWS).

The Australian government said the code would be reviewed by the Treasury Department a year later to “ensure it delivers results that are consistent with the government’s policy objectives.”

While Facebook has faced its problems in Australia, it still vigorously defends its opposition to similar remote measures.

Nick Clegg, the company’s vice president of global affairs, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday that “Australia’s events show the risk of bidding for a cash subsidy behind distortions in how the Internet works.”

Former UK Deputy Prime Minister Clegg explained in a statement the company’s decision to stop distributing news in the country, acknowledging that the move “would have seemed sudden and dramatic to many.”

“That decision was not taken lightly,” he wrote. He added that the company has been “discussing with the Australian government for three years whether it is trying to explain why the proposed law is not working.”

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Last week the company had no choice but to take swift action, he argued, “because it was necessary to do so legally before the new law could come into force.”

The showdown is set to continue. A similar case study may soon come out in other countries facing increasing pressure from the United States and the European Union to adopt such measures. The Canadian government has also said it plans to introduce legislation next month.

– Julia Horowitz contributed to this report.