Australia wants Google to pay for displaying content of local Australian media on its search engine. In return, Google has threatened to remove its search engine in the country on the basis of digital law code[/color]. Could this confrontation set a problem?
What’s Australia saying?
The Australian government has proposed a bill (it has not become law) that will oblige Google and Facebook to pay license fees to Australian press companies for sharing their own journalistic content. In response, Google has threatened to block Australians from accessing its search engine if the bill becomes law.
News Media Bargaining Code, a mandatory by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to address bargaining power imbalances between the Australian news media businesses and digital platforms like Google.
The code was drafted in July 2020 allowing news media businesses to bargain individually or collectively with Google and Facebook over the payment for showing their news on their platform. The Australian government has said that the new law will be applicable on Google and Facebook only, and other companies may be added later in case they were found to hold a significant bargaining power.
It implies that Google and Facebook would have to pay websites whose links show up their platforms like Facebook News Feed, Google Search, Facebook News Tab, Google News, and Google Discover.
Even though it is the last thing Google desired. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in turn declared that his nation would not be intimated and said Australia creates our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our Parliament.
Google has said it’s willing to negotiate with publishers paying license fees for content. The tech giant, however, asserts Australia’s proposed legislation goes too far. It might oblige Google to cover not just when supplying extensive previews of media articles, but also when sharing links into the material.
The bill would also set a mediation model under which an Australian judge will decide how much Google must pay if the business fails to achieve an arrangement with a publisher. This mechanism is dividing opinions, with Google arguing it generates an incalculable financial risk for the company.
Why this is a problem?
“Search engines earn significant money from media articles, whereas publishers make small,” explained Christian Solmecke, a lawyer specialized in internet law. Google, however, argues that publishers gain from the stage, as users are led to media content when it is located on the Google Newsfeed and elsewhere.
But publishers want more money by getting licensing fees. “Billions are so at stake for Google,” said Solmecke. He doubts that the tech giant will follow through on its threat and disable the search engine in Australia. “After all, that search engine is an elementary part of this digital world.”
Written by Avyagrah