Australia may implement laws that would require tech giants to negotiate payments with local publishers and broadcasters for content included in search results or news feeds. However, if a deal cannot be strike, a government-appointed arbitrator will decide the price.
According to Alphabet’s Google, it would block its search engine in Australia if the government proceeds with a new code that would force it and Facebook to pay media companies for the right to use their content. The search giant had warned that its 19 million Australian users would face degraded search and YouTube experiences if the new code were enforced.
Google’s threat to limit its services in Australia came just after the Internet giant reached a content-payment deal with some French news publishers as part of three-year, USD1.3-billion push to support publishers recently.
Meanwhile, Google’s comments drew a sharp rebuke from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison who said the country makes its rules for “things you can do in Australia.”
“People who want to work with that in Australia, you’re very welcome. But we don’t respond to threats,” Morrison told reporters.
Earlier, the United States government has asked Australia to scrap the proposed laws, which have broad political support, and suggested Australia should pursue a voluntary code instead.
After an investigation last month, Australia announced the legislation when they found Google and social media giant Facebook held too much market power in the media industry. It is a situation that can posed a potential threat to a well-functioning democracy.
Google’s testimony “is part of a pattern of threatening behavior that is chilling for anyone who values our democracy,” according to Peter Lewis, director of the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology.