Australia to force Facebook, Google to pay media companies for content


Australia will force Google of Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. to pay Australian media outlets for news content, Treasurer Josh Friedenberg said on Friday.

Friedenberg said a mandatory code of conduct, which will be incorporated into law this year, is necessary to ensure the viability of Australian media companies.

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Friedenberg told reporters in Melbourne, “This is fair to Australian news media businesses. It’s about making sure we have increased competition, consumer protection and a sustainable media landscape.”

Under Australia’s proposal, US social media and search giants would be required to negotiate with Australian media companies to use their content.

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Australia will become the first country to require Facebook and Google to pay for news content. Both companies have spent years meeting payment demands from news publishers around the world.

Neither Google or Facebook responded immediately to a request for comment.

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If no agreement can be reached, the case will be referred to a statutory authority for arbitration. If a deal still cannot take place within 45 days, the government body will make the final determination.

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(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Tom Hogg and Stephen Coats)

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