Australia passes new law obligating Facebook and Google to pay for news

The Australian parliament passed a new media law today that obligates Facebook and Google to pay for news content featured on their sites.

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After gaining approval in the Senate on Wednesday night, the code got the final tick of approval to become law in the House of Representatives on Thursday, following last-minute amendments.

The one-of-a-kind law obligates tech companies like Facebook and Google to compensate media companies for using news content on the platforms. The code cleared its final hurdle following negotiations with Facebook, a week after the company blocked news content for users in Australia.

On Tuesday, Facebook said it intended to restore Australian news pages “in the coming days” and after the new law was passed, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the company pledged to restore news articles in Australia within the next 48 hours.

The law incentivizes tech giants and news organizations to negotiate payment deals between themselves. If such talks fail, digital platforms could be dragged into independent arbitrations.

However, last-minute amendments mean the code may never be enforced against the tech giants providing they can satisfy the government they have struck enough commercial deals with publishers without needing to resort to forced arbitration.

Soon after the law passed, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Facebook will restore news to its platform in Australia in the next 48 hours. This comes after Facebook had initially blocked users in Australia from reading or sharing news content in response to a proposed media bargaining law that would require the social networking company and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay the country’s news publishers for content.

Daily Planet

Stories published by the Daily Planet are either guest pieces, press releases, articles from outside news sources and/or content that was sent to us.

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