Google threatened to stop searching in Australia

At a Senate hearing in Canberra on Friday, Google ()GOOGL) Australia managing director Mel Silva said the draft law “sucks”, and the way millions of users searched for online content would be “broken”.
“If this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real alternative, but would prevent Google search from being made available in Australia,” he told lawmakers. “This would be a bad outcome not only for us, but for Australians, media diversity and small businesses using Google Search.”

The company’s main concern with the proposal is that, according to Silva, “the search will require only payment for links and snippets for news results.”

“The free service we offer to Australian users and our business model is built on the ability to link freely between websites,” she said.

Google and Facebook have asked publishers for years how they display their content, with media companies paying tech giants the privilege they should pay. Critics of the two tech firms say that since they dominate the online advertising business, it puts news publishers in a bind and leaves them leftover.

The new law will allow some media outlets to deal individually or collectively with Facebook and Google – and to enter arbitration if the parties cannot reach an agreement within three months, Australian Competition and Consumer According to the commission, which excludes the proposed. Legislation.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hit back at Google later on Friday.

“Let me be clear. Australia makes our rules for the things in Australia that you can do in our Parliament. It’s done by our government and these things work here in Australia and people who work with you in Australia “They are very welcome,” he said at a press conference. “But we do not respond to threats.”

When asked about Morrison’s comments, Google declined to comment.

‘Results’ warning

Both US tech companies have been opposing the code since its introduction last summer. Last August, Google used its homepage to warn people in Australia that the bill would harm their ability to search for and lead to “results” for YouTube users.
Google's confrontation with Australian regulators is heating up

The US giant is now proposing three changes to the code, including how news publishers will be compensated.

One suggestion is for the news showcase – a program launched by Google last year, aimed at paying publishers more than $ 1 billion over the next three years – to be formalized and expanded in Australia. The company already pays seven publishers in the country for content.

The company also wants to revise a requirement that would force Google to notify publishers about changes to its algorithm, saying it should do so “to ensure that publishers are able to respond to those changes Are those who influence them. “

“There is a clear path to a fair and practical code,” Silva said. “Withdrawing our services from Australia is the last thing I or Google want – especially when there is a way forward.”

An aggressive fight

Facebook ()American Plan) Is also pushing back.

At the same Senate hearing on Friday, Facebook’s vice president of public policy for Asia Pacific Simon Milner said the company could eventually block news content in Australia, although he “insisted on a commitment to make the law workable.” “

Milner told MPs that the legislation already had a “deterrent effect on investment in the Australian news industry,” a recent decision by Facebook to launch a news product in the United Kingdom instead of Australia.

“Sir Tim Berners-Lee said, this precedent established by this law ‘could destabilize the web worldwide, citing the inventor of the web.” “
Google agrees to pay French publishers for news

Regulators say legislation is required to level the playing field for the news media in Australia, as service in newspapers across the country has been reduced, temporarily shut down or permanently closed has gone.

Similar cases have been reported in other countries. On Thursday, Google announced it would pay news publications for the use of its content in France in a landmark agreement that could soon be replicated elsewhere in Europe under new copyright laws.

– Hanna Ziyadi contributed to this report.


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