Australia: Facebook and Google are forced to pay for the media

As expected, the Australian Commission for Competition and Consumer Protection (ACCC) has published a draft code of conduct that obliges large IT companies such as Google and Facebook to pay to the media. According to Finance Minister Josh Frydenberg, the rules should be enshrined in law, as reported by the Reuters news agency.

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As was already evident in the spring of this year, the discussions about a code of conduct on a voluntary basis did not lead to a solution. The proposed code of conduct is therefore now mandatory. The payments from Google or Facebook to media companies should accordingly “negotiated in good faith” are reported the Australian magazine 9 News.

The contracts should be able to be negotiated individually or collectively. If no agreement is reached within three months, the draft provides for arbitration. Should this also fail after a further 45 days, the ACCC should ultimately, on behalf of the government, fix the relevant contract contents and above all the amount of the payments or remuneration.

Notification of changes to the ranking

The code also includes the obligation to make changes to algorithms, “that affect news ranking, news content advertising and news content advertising” Report to the media groups at least 28 days before implementation, according to Frydenberg. The government also provides for fines of up to $ 10 million, approximately three times the benefit obtained, or 10 percent of annual sales for violations. The highest amount is always decisive.

Google counters the plans, according to Reuters, with a reference to the “Billions of clicks”that the company brings to Australian media companies. These would also not help “Solve the fundamental challenges of creating a business model that is fit for the digital age”it continues.

Australia’s approach is comparable to the introduction of ancillary copyright for press publishers in Europe. Most recently, the French competition authority had obliged Google to negotiate license payments with the media. According to the agency, Google has used the market power to force free licenses for snippets from the media. In Germany, the implementation of the corresponding EU directive is still pending. However, Google has also announced an initiative to pay licenses to selected media.

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