Australia is moving closer to moving forward with controversial legislation that would allow U.S. technologists to pay local agencies for news. Other measures to protect their influence are also on the cards.
On Friday, Treasury Secretary Josh Friedenberg announced a “draft mandatory code of conduct” for conducting digital platforms and media business on “Friday.” The code was prepared by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and is now open for one month’s consultation before it becomes law.
Fredenberg said the draft code would require technology giants like Google and Facebook to pay digital media companies to “negotiate in good faith”, Friedenberg said. Australian firms may negotiate jointly or individually. “If they can’t reach an agreement after three months of negotiations, they can go to a binding arbitration. Arbitration is limited to the issue of payment or remuneration. “
Payments will not be available to taxpayer-funded news organizations such as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. These companies may benefit from other provisions of the Code such as platforms requiring Australian media companies to be informed of algorithm changes.
The code requires “at least 26 days’ notice of algorithm changes affecting news rankings, news content display and news content advertising,” Friedenberg said.
Aggregate platforms that discriminate with Australian content are not allowed to avoid paying. The draft code states, “Violation will result in a maximum penalty of ১০ 10 million per violation or three times the benefit received or ten percent of the annual turnover, whichever is greater,” the draft code states.
The proposed law could be unpopular with the U.S. government, which has previously hit European countries seeking to impose revenue tariffs on global technologists, whose businesses are digitalized and are able to choose which areas they want to book their profits.
But Australia is reluctant to legislate how (mostly American) giants operate across its borders. “The ACC has identified in its final report that Facebook and Google have become essential business partners for the Australian media business to reach an online audience, leaving the bargaining power unbalanced.
The cost of complying with the code may not bother the technical giants the bottom line too much. On Thursday, four of the top five technologists in the United States – Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple – reported a net profit of ৮ 26 billion in Coronavirus-Hit in the three months from April to June.