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Google Rolls Out Paid-For Australia News Platform In Response To Proposed Content Payment Law

Google Rolls Out Paid-For Australia News Platform In Response To Proposed Content Payment Law
Google attempted to show as being unnecessary the proposed new law in Australia about sharing revenues with the new outlets whose content is used by the search engine giant by launching a platform in Australia that offers the news that it has paid for to acquire as it strikes its own content agreement with local publishers.
Google had originally planned to launch this platform called News Showcase, which the company had previously rolled out in only in Brazil and Germany, in Australia last June. Those plans were postponed by the Alphabet Inc-owned Google after the Australian government started to take preparations for a new law which makes it legally mandatory for Google and Facebook to pay Australian media companies for content – a very unique step globally. 
The proposed legislation has been previously described as “unworkable” even as it is still trying to lobby with the Australian government in private meetings even as the United States based tech giant has warned that ti would be forced to leave the country completely if the new proposed legislations were implemented into law.
The proposed legislation is currently being reviewed in a parliamentary inquiry.
The latest roll out of News Showcase in Australia by Google will include the company paying seven domestic news outlets, including the Canberra Times, for using content from those local companies.
The details of the financial agreements were not available and there were no comments on the issue from Canberra Times publisher Australian Community Media.
Google was expecting to strike more such content agreements with more Australian publishers, Google said in a statement on Friday even as the position of the local news outlets have been strengthened by the aggressive push back against Facebook and Google by the Australian regulators and government.
“This provides an alternative to the model put forward by the Australian government,” said Derek Wilding, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Media Transition. “What remains to be seen is if larger publishers sign on to the product,” said Wilding.
The first global news provider to Google News Showcase was Reuters as the two companies signed a deal last month. News and information provider Thomson Reuters Corp is the owner of Reuters.
No comments on the issue were available from Google.
Agreement on a copyright framework for Google to pay publishers of news for using their content online was arrived at last month between the American tech company and a French publishers’ lobby which was also a first of its type agreement in Europe.
The new proposed legislation in Australia states that Australian publishers and broadcasters have to be paid by Google and Facebook as compensation for using their news content that is included in the search results of Google or appears on the news feeds of Facebook. If the two companies were unable to strike deals with publishers, the price would be decided by a government-appointed arbitrator.
In private meetings in recent days, the approach to the issue from Google has been “constructive”, said Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
“The Prime Minister (Scott Morrison) and myself and (Communications Minister) Paul Fletcher had a very constructive discussion with the head of Google just yesterday,” Frydenberg told reporters in Melbourne on Friday.
“In that discussion ... they re-committed to Australia, we re-committed [to the legislation].”

Christopher J. Mitchell

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