Google opens a paid news platform in Australia to undermine the pay-for-content law


Tech giant Google has launched a platform in Australia that offers paid news, and has struck its content deals with publishers in an effort to show that the legislation proposed by the Australian prime minister to force payment for content to be unnecessary.

Google launched the News Showcase platform previously only in Brazil and Germany, and it was scheduled to launch last June, but Alphabet Inc, owned by Google, delayed the plans when Canberra moved to make it a legal requirement for Google and Facebook to pay Australian media companies for content, which is unprecedented anywhere. Another in the world.

The technology company, which continues to lobby the Australian government in private meetings, said the legislation was “impractical” and would force it to withdraw from the country altogether if it is implemented.

The News Showcase launch in Australia will see seven local outlets, including the Canberra Times, pay their content.

Financial details of the content deals were not disclosed, and Australian Community Media, publisher of the Canberra Times, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google said in a statement that it was looking forward to entering into agreements with more Australian publishers, whose position was strengthened by Canberras response against Facebook and Google.

“This provides an alternative to the model put forward by the Australian government,” said Derek Wilding, professor at the Media Transition Center at the University of Technology in Sydney. “What remains is whether the major publishers log in to the product.”

Reuters said last month that it had signed an agreement with Google to be the first global news provider for Google News Showcase, and Google declined to add further comments when contacted by Reuters.

Last month, Google and a French publisher lobbying group agreed to a copyright framework for the tech company to pay news publishers for online content, for the first time in Europe.

Under the proposed Canberra legislation, Google and Facebook will have to pay Australian publishers and broadcasters fees for content included in search results or news feeds as well, and if they fail to strike a deal with the publishers, the government appointed arbitrator will decide the price.

While Google’s overall stance on a possible departure from the country remains consistent, Australian Treasury Secretary Josh Friedenberg said Google’s approach has been “constructive” in recent days during private meetings.

“The Prime Minister (Scott Morrison) and (Communications Minister) Paul Fletcher and I had a very constructive discussion with the president of Google just yesterday,” Friedenberg told reporters in Melbourne on Friday.


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