Australia’s political opposition will support proposed legislation that would force Alphabet’s Google and Facebook to pay publishers and broadcasters for content, two sources briefed on the matter said.
Prospects for the bill, which the US tech giants fiercely oppose, are being widely watched around the world as other countries are expected to follow suit if Australia is successful in its efforts.
Lawmakers from Australia’s centre-left Labor party endorsed the bill at a meeting in Canberra on Tuesday, said the sources, who were not authorised to speak to media on the matter and declined to be identified.
It needs support from the opposition as Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s ruling Liberal party does not have a majority in the country’s upper house. The bill is expected to be introduced into parliament this week.
Google has described the legislation as “unworkable” and has threatened to withdraw its search engine from Australia. Both companies are lobbying hard for the legislation to be softened, with senior executives holding talks with Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
Google has asked for series of changes, most notably having its new platform, Showcase, covered by the legislation rather than search results generated.
This week, Australia’s Seven West Media became the country’s first major news outlet to strike a licensing deal with Google.
In doing so, it has split from rivals News Corp and Nine Entertainment which have failed to reach agreements with Google and instead backed the legislation which calls for an arbiter to set content fees in the absence of a private deal.
Outside Australia, Google and a French publishers’ lobby group agreed in January to a copyright framework for the tech firm to pay news publishers for content online.
Last month, Reuters said it had signed a deal with Google to be the first global news provider to Google News Showcase. Reuters is owned by news and information provider Thomson Reuters.
© Thomson Reuters 2021
Can Realme X7 Pro take on OnePlus Nord? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.